A romance novel cover model from Southern California has pleaded guilty to robberies at a bank and convenience store in Connecticut that led to a nearly weeklong cross-country manhunt.
David Byers, of Solano Beach, entered his guilty plea in Hartford on Tuesday. Prosecutors said Byers robbed a Chase Bank twice and a Citgo gas station in Greenwich in April before leading police on a cross-country manhunt that involved a series of vehicles thefts and high-speed pursuits.
Police said the 35-year-old evaded officers in Pennsylvania and Arizona before his arrest in San Diego in May. Authorities said Byers was also responsible for a series of robberies in New York.
He is now facing up to 20 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18.
A Los Angeles photographer previously said Byers has appeared on the covers of four romance novels.
"There was never anything that would have indicated that he would do this," photographer Michael Stokes, who has worked with the model, told the Los Angeles Times.
In April, prosecutors said Byers, wearing a bandana over his face, robbed a gas station in New York of $300. A day later, he took $2,107 from a Chase Bank branch in New York, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.
Byers robbed another gas station in Greenwich April 24, then struck again in the southwestern Connecticut community a day later at a Chase bank, prosecutors said. He returned to the same bank April 26 and stolen more than $3,300, according to authorities.
The one-man crime spree led to a manhunt that started April 28 after a vehicle sought in connection with the heists was located in Greenwich. Byers eluded authorities during searches in Connecticut neighborhoods that involved several law enforcement agencies.
A sighting was reported later in Pennsylvania, where authorities said he again evaded law enforcement. Police used a tire deflation device in an attempt to disabled the vehicle Byers was driving, but he abandoned the vehicle before stealing a pickup with the keys left in it, prosecutors said.
Investigators released security camera photos of the suspect during the manhunt, which led to Yuma, Arizona on May 1. Police in the southwestern corner of the state said Byers was seen near a hotel. He again escaped following a high-speed chase, prosecutors aid.
Byers was arrested in the parking lot of a San Diego area liquor store.