UPDATE (Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.) -- Pittsburg's former world boxing champion James Page plead guilty to a string of East Bay bank robberies earlier this month, accepting a plea deal with federal prosecutors for 20 years in prison, according to an InsideBayArea.com report.
The report indicates that Page, 42, admitted on Feb. 7 to stealing $20,735 from eight East Bay banks from March 6 to June 9. Prior to the plea deal, Page faced 20 years in prison for each robbery. His sentencing is set for April 29.
Former World Boxing Association welterweight titleholder James Page, whom the FBI identified as the “Button Down Bandit” for his alleged role in eight bank robberies over the past three months, was arrested Monday.
The 42-year-old Pittsburg native had recently been released from federal prison after serving an 11-year stint for a failed bank heist in Atlanta back in 2001.
However, following a short-lived comeback to the ring last November that resulted in a second-round knockout loss to Rahman Yusubov, Page has now been charged with the same class of crime that landed him behind bars over a decade ago. He is currently being detained on $395,000 bail at the Martinez Detention Facility.
The news was first reported by the Bay Area News Group, who obtained an FBI statement saying authorities had dubbed Page the “Button Down Bandit” for his propensity to wear long-sleeve collared shirts during the robberies.
According to the statement, Page is being accused of conducting bank heists in Pleasanton, Oakley, Emeryville, and twice apiece in Antioch and Walnut Creek, with the last one occurring last Saturday at Wells Fargo in Lafayette.
The Bay Area News Group’s report also revealed that an Oakley police officer was able to identify Page after viewing a bank surveillance photograph. With the assistance of cops from Walnut Creek and Antioch, FBI agents subsequently arrested Page without incident at 8:15 a.m. on the 1600 block of 17th Street in Oakland.
In his heyday, Page (25-5, 19 KOs), known as “Mighty Quinn,” was a powerful puncher who captured the vacant WBA 147-pound title in 1998, needing just two rounds to knock out Andrey Pestryaev. After signing with famed promoter Don King and making three successful defenses, the WBA stripped Page of the title, forcing him to fight for the vacant belt in February 2001 against Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis.
Unfortunately for Page, Lewis would stop him in seven rounds, and the East Bay fighter’s life began to spiral downward. Nine months later, Page was arrested with $6,000 in his pocket after robbing a Bank of America in Atlanta. Court records stated that he also robbed an Alpharetta Bank in the same city a week earlier. Page was ultimately sent to federal prison, where he was incarcerated for over a decade.
According to the Associated Press, Page had also served a combined 10 months in San Quentin over two separate stints (1996 and 1997).
"As I am with other athletes I'm involved with, I was constantly offering mentorship and guidance to him as well," said Dee Miller, Page's former manager. "But he had a mind of his own and respected his own more than the opinion of others, which for someone like himself with a past like he had wasn't the wisest thing to do.
"I can only pray now that while he's doing his time this time around, that he brings God closer to him. It's a sad day for Team Page."
Anyone with information on the current case is encouraged to contact the FBI at 415-553-7400.
Photo courtesy Team Page