The Story of the Handsome Guy Bandit Was Made for Hollywood*

(*The Handsome Guy Bandit thinks so, anyway.)

By November, 10 banks had been robbed, eight of them in the Dallas area and two near Houston. For every one he robbed, Milam says, he scouted and rejected at least 20, usually due to an excess of cameras, either in the bank or on the streets nearby.

Investigators quickly concluded that the crimes were linked. "He was pretty unique because of the disguise," says FBI agent John Wetherington, who leads the team that investigates North Texas bank robberies. Witnesses told them the mask was eerie but realistic. One thought Milam was ill, a cancer patient maybe. "It caused people to stop," Wetherington says. "The mask moved and functioned, but it didn't look quite human."

Still, it did its job.

Surveillance footage of Milam in his mask at American National Bank and Bank of America.
Surveillance footage of Milam in his mask at American National Bank and Bank of America.
Surveillance footage of Milam in his mask at American National Bank and Bank of America.
Surveillance footage of Milam in his mask at American National Bank and Bank of America.


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"Initially, we didn't know whether it was a white male, a black male or a Hispanic male" under the disguise, he says. "But Milam slipped up and let part of his face be seen."

It was one of several ways Milam grew careless or over-confident. "He was getting cocky," Wetherington says. During one robbery, he even asked the teller to pass along a message.

"I know you know who I am," he told her. "Tell the FBI I said 'Hi.'"

Last New Year's Eve, Milam and his wife woke up at their new house in Richardson. They'd just bought the four-bedroom spread to go with the one in Tyler. It was Milam's project: He was determined not to bring a thing from the Tyler house, he says, purchasing all new appliances and furniture.

Jamie's birthday was coming up, and Milam's son, Brendon, was out of town, visiting his mom in Arizona. The couple had big plans: a steakhouse dinner, a night at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, a shopping spree at NorthPark Center. But Milam had been planning to hit a BBVA bank for a while and he wanted to get it off his to-do list. He couldn't decide whether to postpone it till after the holiday.

He switched on the DVD player and checked the disk inside. It was the bank heist movie The Town. He fast-forwarded to a chase scene, he says, watching for the moment when the gang shoots at the car behind them, trying to disable it. With that, he says, he decided to just get the robbery over with. Around 9 a.m., he had a few beers and told Jamie he was heading to the gym.

He drove to a strip mall near the bank and parked his car in an underground garage. He listened to his usual pre-robbery hype-up music, hard-rock stuff by Chevelle and Drowning Pool. He always ended with a DP song called "Bodies," which starts in a whisper and escalates to a scream: "Nothing wrong with me/something's got to give/let the bodies hit the floor." He cut the engine and pulled on his mask.

The weight of the latex made him feel like he was in a diving bell. The outside world felt far away, while his own breathing became loud, hot, distorted. It always made him think fleetingly of Darth Vader as he walked toward the bank doors, stomach churning. But something always shifted when he put his hand on the bank's door handle. Suddenly, everything was fine. It was business.

He breathed deep and pulled.

Jacob Gomez and his wife had walked into the bank not long before, after some dithering over whether to use the drive-thru. They turned to see a man in a mask.

"This is a robbery!" he shouted. He was waving a gun.

"Get on the floor!" Milam instructed them, according to the account Gomez gave to a TV reporter. "This is not a joke! I'm not playing around!"

Milam soon ordered everyone off the floor and herded them into the bank's main vault. Customers kept pouring in; they were ushered into the vault, too. On the way in, an employee managed to discreetly hit the panic button.

Inside the vault, Milam forced everyone onto their knees and ordered the manager to start filling a plastic bag with cash. He told the manager not to put dye packs or GPS trackers in with the money.

"I know about those," Milam said, according to Gomez. "If you do it, I'll kill you. I'll kill you and your whole family. I'll go to your house and kill you. I'll kill someone right now." He pointed the gun at the employees and customers huddled in the vault.

Gomez held his wife's hand.

"It's going to be OK," he told her. "He wants the bank's money. It's going to be all right."

Milam ordered the tellers back to their windows to empty the drawers. No dye packs or I kill you, he told them. Then he put everyone in the bathroom and told them to count to 500. He warned them not to contact police; he'd be listening on a scanner, he said. Then he left. He'd been there for a total of nine minutes.

As Milam walked back to his car, he saw lights flashing out of the corner of his eye. It was Bill Minnix, a uniformed officer in a Richardson police car. Minnix raced up a nearby hill, then swung back around toward Milam.

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The Handsome Guy Bandit is opening an interest Facebook page. It will have all of the stories of the Handsome Guy Bandit and his rebuttal to the Observer story. Find out about Alli and the bank bags and how she was involved and her boyfirend fiance was in jail on meth and gun charges. Find out about Josh and what he did and how he contributed. Find out how many people were involved.


The Handsome Guy Bandit has a rebuttal to this article. It is too long to put in the comments section and the editor does not think it is newsworthy although Anna Merlan invited him to make a rebuttal. Anyone interested in reading the whole rebuttal call the Observer and tell them so they will post it. It tells about Alli and Josh and what exactly happened.


Coming up with names for bandits has to be one of the better jobs going. Fat Assed Bandit, Stoned Buffoon Bandit, Pseudo Intellectual Bandit, Fidgety Fuckin' Bandit ... it would be like managing the Village People, only with more job security.

Lisa Hardaway
Lisa Hardaway

What handsome guy isn't some variety of bandit?


I HOPE this becomes a Lifetime movie because since Anna's very well written and entertaining article came out, many of my friends are telling me more and more that I didn't know about Steve.

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

This has "Lifetime" movie written all over it. Hell, "Handsome Guy" is even the perfect LMN title.


"[F]amily and exercise and cremated pets couldn't scratch his every itch."

This is my new favorite sentence. I'm not sure why.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

There but for the grace of God go I.  I might have been the "Gorgeous Gal" bandit.  [Myrna snickers...]


@Daniel I feel compelled to tell you that there is also a ZZ Top Bandit. The FBI: apparently funnier than we realized. 


@AlliKim  I hope it does too Alli the the world will know your boyfriend/fiance was in jail for meth and gun charges and your your mate was convicted by the feds for conterfieting durling the three weeks you slept with Steve whom you knew was married to April at the time. I also hopes it becomesa movie so people will see that you supplied the two bank bags from Shuck N Jive during the 2 robberies he did during the time he was with you. Josh was on probabtion. There were 5 people involved. Allie you are no saint but you can tell some lies girl but what do you expect from a bar manager. You are trash and that's all there is so to it. You also accepted a 5000.00 check from one of Steve's relatives to pay for that hotel room in Austin because you wanted it on your American Express  for the the points but he was in custody when the bill came in. Yep I hope it's made into a movie so you look like the trash you are.Anyone who wishes to question this may look up the information and find it is all true.