WATERLOO, Iowa – A young bank robber who had just been sentenced to 30 years in state prison waved and blew a kiss through the jail courtroom viewing glass to his family, including his child – who was born after his 2010 arrest for six armed robberies, including three at local credit unions.
Under the state’s mandatory minimum law, 26-year-old Jay Harkless will have to serve 70% of the sentence – 21 years – before he is eligible for parole.
Harkless was convicted of robbing two branches of Veridian CU, Iowa Community CU and three banks between November 2008 and May 2009. Then, in 2009, he branched out to other counties, where he was accused in five other holdups, for a total of 11.
Police said Harkless struck quickly, wearing hoods or wigs, sometimes within a block of the Cedar Falls police station, passing holdup notes and slipping away before authorities arrived.