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The man charged with robbing Sterling Savings Bank in downtown Missoula on Tuesday morning has a previous conviction for bank robbery, so Justice of the Peace John Odlin was in no mood to let him free.

Odlin agreed with a prosecutor's recommendation that Vincent John Sullivan's bail be set at $100,000 in an appearance in Justice Court on Wednesday.

The 64-year-old transient "has been bouncing around the country" and is therefore a flight risk, said Deputy Missoula County Attorney Shawn Thomas.

Appearing from the Missoula County Detention Center via closed-circuit TV, Sullivan seemed nervous during the brief hearing and genuinely surprised that he was not released on his own recognizance.

Jordan Kilby from the public defender's office, appearing next to Sullivan, had asked the judge to reduce the bail amount.

"Mr. Sullivan ... can't afford an attorney," she said. "He will not be able to afford a $100,000 bond - not even close."

Odlin refused the request, then set a preliminary hearing date of Nov. 9.

Where and when Sullivan committed bank robbery in the past was not disclosed at the hearing.

But police contend that on Tuesday morning, he handed a note to a teller at Sterling Savings Bank in downtown Missoula, demanding money and stating he was armed.

According to charging documents, Sullivan's note read: "I have a gun, give me your 50s and 100s."

He then apparently walked across the street, ate breakfast at Liquid Planet, and called a cab to take him to the DoubleTree Hotel, stopping for cigarettes along the way.

By then, Missoula police had stopped at Liquid Planet, where employees recognized the man from the bank's surveillance photo and told police he was en route to the riverfront hotel.

Sullivan had first asked to go to the University of Montana, but the taxi driver told him he needed a specific campus location. Sullivan could not name one, then asked to be transported to "the Red Lion."

The DoubleTree used to be the Village Red Lion - 13 years ago.

Missoula police Sgt. Mike Horner was first on the scene, and drew his gun before arresting Sullivan near the front entrance of the hotel in the vehicle turnabout.

Ironically, the DoubleTree was hosting a law-enforcement convention that day.

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