112810 bank robber in court kw.jpg
Vincent John Sullivan appears in Missoula District Court last week after trying to plead guilty to charges that he robbed Missoula’s Sterling Savings Bank in late October. Sullivan says he continues to rob banks across the country because he would rather live in prison. Photo by KURT WILSON/Missoulian

A 64-year-old man accused of robbing the Sterling Savings Bank in downtown Missoula is on his way to Warm Springs for a mental health evaluation.

Missoula County District Judge Dusty Deschamps on Tuesday approved the transfer for Vincent John Sullivan, who has been held in the Missoula County Jail on $100,000 bail since the Oct. 26 robbery.

At Warm Springs, Sullivan will be examined both for his fitness to proceed in court, and also his state of mind during the alleged crime, Deschamps said.

Sullivan has a history of both bank robbery and mental health issues. Federal Bureau of Prisons records show he was held in a federal prison hospital in Butner, N.C., from 2001 to 2006. Sullivan said he was committed there after robbing a bank in Florida.

Sullivan also is accused of robbing a New York City bank on Oct. 12 before crossing the country to Manhattan Beach, Calif., where he allegedly robbed another bank on Oct. 18, and then continued on to Missoula.

No one was injured in any of those incidents. Sullivan said the three robberies netted him a total of about $4,000.

Within a few moments of the Missoula robbery, a man later identified as Sullivan ate a breakfast at the nearby Liquid Planet, then hailed a cab to the DoubleTree Hotel, stopping on the way for cigarettes. Police, alerted by Liquid Planet employees, arrested him at the hotel.

Sullivan tried to plead guilty to the Missoula robbery last month, but Deschamps made his acceptance of that plea contingent upon a mental health evaluation. Last week, defense attorney Chris Daly submitted a federal mental health report on Sullivan from the hospital in Butner, which deemed him eligible for commitment as recently as July.

Reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, gwen.florio@missoulian.com or CopsAndCourts.com


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