Following another stint in jail, Dodson died in La, California, on February 21, 2003. Although his dad died when he was a baby, Dodson otherwise had a normal childhood. Raised by his mom and grandma, he frequently attended church, played little league baseball and was in a school band. He adopted the hippie culture, growing his hair long and selling cannabis and LSD to buddies, but was caught with drugs in his possession in a traffic stop in 1971. Confronting the likelihood of jail time, he fled the region and wound up living in La under an assumed name.
After receiving word that his attorney in North Carolina had gotten the charges dismissed, Dodson lost the alias and started an antique store on Melrose Avenue. The shop became a favorite hangout for the bohemian art bunch, and its own capturing owner found himself rubbing elbows with such stars as John Lennon, Barbra Streisand and Liberace. Dodson drove expensive cars and spent increasing levels of cash on cocaine and heroin, but unlike a lot of his celebrity pals, he could not continue spending so lavishly. Confronting a $900-per-day drug habit and building debts, he gently started robbing banks in July 1983.
Dodson had a distinguishing style: Wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap as well as a friendly grin, he’d point a fake gun in a teller and apologetically request cash. He immediately grabbed the attention of the FBI, becoming known as the “New York Yankees Bandit” as well as the “Gentleman Bandit,” but despite his apparently inexperienced processes, Dodson was unusually successful. He eluded the FBI stakeouts set up around town, and robbed six different banks during one particularly prolific day in November 1983. Dodson was ultimately captured in February 1984, stopping a run of 64 robberies that netted him almost $300,000. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail, and wound up serving a bit more than 10.
Eddie Dodson took a cushy job as a caretaker to get a resort owned by Jack Nicholson before restarting his old customs of utilizing drugs and robbing banks. But, the gentlemanly way was a matter of the past; gaunt and disheveled, he was tagged the “Down-and-Out Bandit” this time around. After eight robberies, Dodson was apprehended in the Farmer’s Daughter Motel in 1999.
The exact same year brought the launch of the novel Where the Money Is: True Tales from the Bank Robbery Capital of the World. Co-composed by former FBI agent William J. Rehder, the novel featured the Yankee Bandit case as the centerpiece of his crime-fighting memories. A decade after, the movie Electric Slide (2013), with celebrity Jim Sturgess in the part of the magnetic Tinseltown robber, was set to reach theatres.