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'Puffy Coat Bandit' Sentenced to Nine Years

The Pomona man known as 'Puffy Coat' by authorities is convicted for a string of bank robberies throughout the Southland, including Glendora, Chino and Rancho Cucamonga.

A Pomona man dubbed the "Puffy Coat Bandit'' was sentenced today to nine years behind bars and ordered to pay restitution of about $40,000 for holding up banks in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Steven Dwayne Paulson, 46, pleaded guilty in April in Los Angeles to five federal counts of bank robbery.

According to sentencing papers prepared by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Paulson has a 33-year criminal history that includes 14 convictions -- for mostly property and drug crimes -- along with seven juvenile arrests and more than a dozen additional law enforcement contacts as an adult.

Paulson was pulled over and arrested last Jan. 10 in Upland, eight months after his most recent prison term -- a nine-year sentence for forgery, court papers show.

Paulson's "history of drug and alcohol abuse is as lengthy and as troublesome as his criminal history,'' prosecutors wrote in the sentencing document, adding that while the defendant's addiction does not excuse the crimes, "it can help to explain it.''

The puffy ski jacket the bandit wore in a robbery in Chino helped FBI agents come up with the moniker. In other holdups, he wore a plaid jacket and a baseball cap or a knit beanie.

Most of the time, Paulson used a demand note and, in some crimes, he simulated having a weapon under his coat, prosecutors said.

Paulson was linked to robberies that took place between Dec. 20, 2011, and last Jan. 9 at banks in Chino, Corona, Lake Elsinore, Glendora, Cerritos and Rancho Cucamonga, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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