A man who robbed a Payson bank in August with a simulated homemade bomb pled guilty Thursday to armed robbery.
Sitting before Superior Court Judge Gary Scales, Michael Albert Swinney, 56, admitted he entered the Arizona State Credit Union Aug. 1, set an item that looked like a pipe bomb on a teller’s counter and demanded money. Swinney fled the bank on foot with an undisclosed sum and ran into the nearby Taco Bell bathroom where he shed several articles of clothing. He continued on foot toward Bashas’ where officers arrested him without incident.
After several hours, bomb technicians determined the device was not a bomb, but pipes and duct tape put together to look like a bomb.
Swinney’s attorney Michael Bernays said although the bomb was fake, his client had nonetheless threatened use of a dangerous weapon.
A grand jury indicted Swinney on five counts in August, but under the plea agreement prosecutors dropped four of those charges. Swinney could serve anywhere from three to 12 years in prison, but the plea agreement calls for a six-year sentence.
Swinney’s sentencing is March 18 at 9 a.m. in Globe.
Swinney is being housed currently in a Pinal County jail.