‘Cowboy Gun Bandits’ sentenced to decades in prison for 2013 string of robberies
A pair of masked gunmen known as the “Cowboy Gun Bandits,” who committed a string of armed robberies in Southern California with an Old West pistol, were sentenced last week to decades behind bars.
Dominic Dorsey, 51, of Hollywood was sentenced Friday to 40 years in federal prison, and Reginald Bailey, 74, of the Jefferson Park neighborhood received 35 years. The men were also ordered by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder to pay a share of $58,700 in restitution.
The duo were arrested in June 2014 and convicted in 2016 of 11 felony robbery and firearms counts.
Dorsey and Bailey engaged in a 2013 string of crimes at gas stations and a bank in which they terrorized employees and customers and grabbed cash from registers. During the heists, one of the men wielded a long-barrel Colt six-shooter, which gave the pair their nickname. The revolver, believed to date from 1873, was never recovered.
They were often clad in black and moved fast, never leaving traces of evidence that experts could analyze.
In three months, the bandits committed robberies in Thousand Oaks, Woodland Hills, Newhall, Encino, Glendale and Atwater Village, and they rarely got away with more than a few hundred dollars.
In one such incident, the duo ran off with a meager $125 from a heist at an Arco gas station in Encino. Days later, they robbed a USA Gas station in Tulare County, ordered an employee to empty the cash register and made off with about $55.
But Dorsey and Bailey scored big in November 2013 after walking into a Citibank in Glendale and emptying the teller’s drawers. They escaped with nearly $55,500 in cash. After that, the robberies stopped.
“They were planning on moving up from liquor stores to a bank,” Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Axelrad told a jury in a downtown federal courtroom in 2016. “They were good, but they did make mistakes, and that’s how they got caught.”
At the time, prosecutors admitted that the case was mostly circumstantial. Authorities found no black hoodies, dark pants, shoes or the money related to the robberies when Dorsey and Bailey were arrested.
With the help of evidence from witness statements and California Department of Motor Vehicles and cellphone records, investigators were able to zero in on the suspects and help prosecutors build their case.
Many of the holdups were captured by video surveillance, which revealed that one of the masked robbers was missing part of his left ring finger and walked with a limp.
That further linked Bailey, who is missing part of a finger on his left hand, to the crime. When he was arrested, authorities found in his apartment a backpack with black gloves and a blue bandanna similar to one worn during one of the robberies.
Times staff writer Joseph Serna contributed to this report.
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