Stephen Bartlett, known as the notorious Hills Bandit, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in Nevada. Bartlett’s criminal history spans several years, with numerous felony convictions and a string of bank robberies. In 2014, he fled to Southern California after failing to appear for sentencing in Carson City. During this time, he allegedly committed over 10 bank robberies.
Bartlett’s crime spree came to an end in October 2014 when he crashed a stolen truck after a 90-minute police pursuit across four counties. He pleaded guilty to five of the bank robberies in California and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee described Bartlett as a “one-man crime spree” due to his extensive criminal record, which included 14 prior felony convictions.
Upon his release from California prison earlier this year, Bartlett was sent back to Nevada to face sentencing for a 2010 grand larceny scam. Washoe District Attorney Darcy Cameron argued that Bartlett’s overwhelming prior criminal history, including 37 felonies, warranted the maximum penalty as a habitual criminal. Judge Scott Freeman agreed and sentenced Bartlett to life in prison without parole.
Bartlett’s bank robberies in Southern California involved handing a teller a handwritten note demanding cash in various denominations. Although he made threats of having a gun, no weapon was seen. The break in the case came when a stolen vehicle was found in Las Vegas, containing a replica gun, a merchant banking bag, a list of banks, and currency stained with red dye. Bartlett was suspected in 10 robberies during a 20-week period in 2014.
The chase that led to Bartlett’s arrest began when he attempted to steal $12,000 worth of steel from a commercial business in Santa Fe Springs. He led officers on a 90-minute pursuit, driving in the wrong direction on Interstate 215 at one point. The chase ended when Bartlett lost control of the stolen truck on Interstate 210 in Rialto, crashing into a wall. He was apprehended and taken into custody.
Stephen Bartlett will serve his life sentence at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, the same facility he once falsely claimed to work for during his 2010 grand larceny scam.