LONDON (AP) _ A theater technician working on the hit musical ''Miss Saigon'' has been sentenced to nine years in prison for using a stage prop gun to rob banks - often shortly before reporting for work.

In handing down the sentence in London Criminal Court on Monday, Judge Neil Denison said Robert Phee had been ''gripped by the excitement and theatricality'' of his crimes.

The 23-year-old technician pleaded guilty to eight robberies and one attempted robbery and nine offenses of having an imitation firearm.

Phee netted $26,500 in the robberies of banks and building societies near the Theater Royal where the show is running, the Old Bailey court heard.

Prosecutor Sally Howes said all but two of the robberies were on a Wednesday, before Phee reported for work on the midweek matinee.