An Indiana man who was the subject of a billboard-aided manhunt in 2009 was sentenced Tuesday to 26 life prison sentences for 13 robberies in six states.
Ex-convict Chad Schaffner, 39, of Indianapolis was sentenced in a Tennessee federal court for the four-month holdup spree that included 11 banks, one credit union and one retail store in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina, Indiana and Illinois. Fourteen of the sentences are to run in a row.
Schaffner's picture was posted on electronic billboards across the South after traditional investigations failed. FBI agents said the tactic worked because he was identified as a suspect within 24 hours of bank surveillance photos popping up on wall-size electronic highway signs in Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Schaffner was arrested in Kingdom City, Mo., two weeks after the billboards displayed his picture. During the robberies, he sometimes wore a red baseball cap but never tried to hide his face, which officials said was uncommon.
"These sentences will give some comfort to the victims whose lives were forever changed by the criminal actions of Chad Schaffner," said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian. "He will never be able to commit armed robbery or any other crime again."
Schaffner, who served time for robbery in Indiana, also was sentenced for using a firearm during the robberies. No one was hurt.
His girlfriend, Linda Christina Davis, was sentenced in 2010 to 27 months for aiding Schaffner. She had been arrested with him and prosecutors said she confessed to allowing him to use his car and to renting motel rooms in various states to aid him in eluding authorities.