TEL AVIV (Feb. 25)
A Tel Aviv District Court judge pronounced a 20-year prison sentence Monday on confessed bank robber Ronnie Leibovitz, whose debonair style and daring motorcycle getaways made him a folk hero here.
Leibovitz, scion of a well-to-do family, confessed to having robbed 22 banks in the Tel Aviv area at gunpoint in the course of a year before police finally caught up with him.
His take in the daring robberies was some $150,000, all of which he reportedly returned to the banks.
But Judge Victoria Ostrovsky-Cohen slapped Leibovitz with the maximum sentence for armed robbery. She blamed a sensation-mongering news media for tagging the masked bandit with the reputation of a “Robin Hood,” which earned him undeserved public sympathy.
“This Robin Hood acted out of personal greed and put his ill-gotten gains in his own pocket,” the judge said.
Leibovitz admitted he robbed banks to sustain an expensive lifestyle and finance the construction of a luxury villa in one of Tel Aviv’s affluent neighborhoods.
Leibovitz’ mask-cum-motorbike getup has become a favorite Purim costume for children this week.