How Oregon Retiree Was Misidentified As “Waddling Bandit”


Robert Christie, a 71 year old Oregon retired teacher, was told to leave his car on an Interstate highway by tactical officers with bullhorns, beginning an odyssey from anonymous retirement to rogues’ gallery, says The Oregonian. For two years, authorities had been pursuing a serial bank robber likely to be — according to an FBI profiler — a diabetic gambler well into his AARP years. That man was stocky and white, walked with a distinctive side-to-side gait and had gotten away with $70,000 in 20 heists over two years. Christie, who seemed to fit the profile of the “Waddling Bandit,” would spend 10 days in jail and 40 days on house arrest before an alibi forced prosecutors to backpedal.

Christie told the newspaper: “It seems like an impossible job to try to figure out where you were on 20 different dates at specific times of robberies. First comes the time consumed calling each jurisdiction to determine the time of each robbery, then comes the process of reassembling your life’s timeline.” Eventually that’s what he did. A week ago today, a federal prosecutor dropped the bank robbery charge, allowing him to snip the home-monitoring bracelet. He got formal notice Tuesday that he was, once again, a free man.


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