'Smurf Bandit' Bank Robber Sentenced

Serial Bank Robber Kevin High, 25, Dubbed 'Smurf Bandit' Faces 14 Years In Prison

A serial bank robber dubbed the "Smurf Bandit" was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years in state prison for robbing three banks and trying to rob a fourth during a two-week crime spree.

Kevin Duran High, 25, pleaded guilty Aug. 30 to three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery.

Judge Charles Gill sentenced the defendant to the maximum term under the plea agreement.

Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey told the judge that High threatened three tellers, presenting a demand note and telling them he had a gun.

In all, High got away with nearly $6,000 in the three completed robberies in La Mesa, Liberty Station and Oceanside between May 13 and May 26, Harvey said.

High left a Rancho Bernardo Navy Federal Credit Union after being asked to remove his hat and sunglasses, authorities said.

The 5-foot-5 defendant has a record of financial theft-related cases and a burglary conviction from 2005, the prosecutor said. The defendant was on parole at the time of the bank heists and had been arrested eight times since 2004, Harvey said.

Defense attorney Ray Aragon said High's life went downhill after he joined the Navy in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and was forced to get out of the military because he has diabetes.

"I want to apologize to the victims," High said. "I didn't mean to cause as much pain as I caused."

High was dubbed the "Smurf Bandit" by the media because the color of some of the clothing he wore during the robberies was the same color as the "Smurf" characters in the popular children's cartoons, according to a probation report.