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Head of Bank Robbery Gang Gets Life

December 19, 1998

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ The leader of a white separatist gang that poked fun at federal authorities during bank robberies in seven states was sentenced Friday to life in prison.

Peter Langan, 40, was given life without parole for placing a pipe bomb inside a bank in 1994. He was given another 35 years for other charges, including robbing two banks and assaulting federal agents.

Langan headed a six-member gang dubbed the Midwestern Bank Bandits, which committed robberies in Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Kentucky in 1994 and 1995, prosecutors say.

Investigators believe the robberies netted $250,000. Members testified that some of the money supported white supremacist causes.

The robbers poked fun at federal agents by wearing shirts with FBI logos and buying getaway cars in the names of retired agents.

Langan said he never intended to hurt anyone who wasn’t trying to hurt him. His public defender, Randy Alden, said the government never proved the pipe bomb was a destructive device. Alden said they will appeal.

Prosecutor Sharon Zealey said Langan’s sentence was appropriate because his group ``robbed banks to support their lifestyle, and advance their white supremacist, anti-government causes.″

Langan was arrested after a 10-second shootout with police in January 1996. The gang’s alleged co-founder, Richard Guthrie Jr., led them to Langan.

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