‘Harry Potter’ bank robber sent to prison for two years

The 21-year-old Mill Creek man hit banks in Everett, Lynnwood, Lakewood and Mount Vernon.

Caleb Dierlam appeared in Everett District Court in 2016 (left) after being arrested on suspicion of being the Harry Potter Bandit. (Rikki King / The Herald). The photo on the right was captured on surveillance video at a bank.

Caleb Dierlam appeared in Everett District Court in 2016 (left) after being arrested on suspicion of being the Harry Potter Bandit. (Rikki King / The Herald). The photo on the right was captured on surveillance video at a bank.

SEATTLE — The “Harry Potter Bandit” is heading to a federal prison for two years.

Caleb Dierlam, 21, of Mill Creek, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle. He earlier pleaded guilty to five counts of bank robbery and one count of attempted bank robbery for holdups in Washington and Oregon.

The 2016 series attracted extra attention because the bank robber didn’t look the part. On a wanted poster, the FBI had dubbed the robber the “Harry Potter Bandit,” an apparent nod to the suspect’s slight build, clean-cut appearance and the use of glasses in some of his disguises.

Dierlam had no criminal history before his December 2016 arrest. He’d been renting a room in Mill Creek from friends of his family, who live in Indiana.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on Friday agreed to recommend that Dierlam serve his time in the low-security federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, and that he be allowed to participate in a skills program, according to court records.

Investigators had attempted to identify the robber using facial-recognition software. They also released surveillance stills and a wanted poster with the attention-grabbing “Harry Potter Bandit” nickname.

That paid off when a customer at a Lynnwood Starbucks called 911 to report that a man using a laptop in the coffee shop looked like the robber.

Police learned Dierlam’s identity and took his picture. Their investigation led to a search of his room, and the recovery of evidence linked to the holdups.

Dierlam later admitted to hitting banks in Everett, Lynnwood, Lakewood and Mount Vernon. He faced up to 20 years in prison, but as part of the plea agreement federal prosecutors said they would support lesser punishment.

Lawyers on both sides of the case asked the judge to seal their memos filed ahead of sentencing. Federal prosecutors wrote that the document contained “sensitive, private information obtained from a medical/psychological evaluation that the defendant received in the past.”

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@herald net.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.

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