The extraordinary story of the Olympic track cycling hopeful turned serial bank robber

For about four years an Olympic track cycling hopeful used his biking skills to pull off 26 heists in three states. 

Tom Justice had ambitions to one day become an Olympic gold medalist with his custom bike and riding abilities. 

Instead, he ended up robbing banks in California, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

And as strange as it sounds, Justice of Libertyville, Illinois, was apparently good at stealing plastic bags full of cash and zig-zagging through streets as he fled the scene. 

Justice, who eventually was nicknamed the Choirboy by the FBI, started robbing banks in 1998. He wasn’t caught until 2002. 

According to the Chicago Magazine, Justice would leave his custom-built, orange Steelman bike parked outside a bank before walking inside and handing the teller a note. 

For about four years Olympic track cycling hopeful, Tom Justice (pictured), used his biking skills to pull off 26 heists in three states 

For about four years Olympic track cycling hopeful, Tom Justice (pictured), used his biking skills to pull off 26 heists in three states 

For about four years Olympic track cycling hopeful, Tom Justice (pictured), used his biking skills to pull off 26 heists in three states 

Justice, who was nicknamed the Choirboy by FBI, started robbing banks in 1998. He wasn't caught until 2002

Justice, who was nicknamed the Choirboy by FBI, started robbing banks in 1998. He wasn't caught until 2002

Authorities nicknamed Justice the Choirboy because of his tactics for robbing the banks

Authorities nicknamed Justice the Choirboy because of his tactics for robbing the banks

Justice, who was nicknamed the Choirboy by FBI, started robbing banks in 1998. He wasn’t caught until 2002. He was nicknamed the Choirboy because of his tactics for robbing the banks. He would keep his hands folded (right) to keep his finger prints off anything in the bank

The notes would usually read something along the lines of: ‘I’ve got a gun, give me the money’.

Justice, a former Category 1 Olympic hopeful, would then walk out with a plastic bag filled with money that he then stuffed into his own backpack before speeding off on his bike unnoticed.  

Authorities nicknamed Justice the Choirboy because of his tactics for robbing the banks. 

He would keep his hands folded to keep his finger prints off anything in the bank. 

Justice, who lived in San Diego at the time, would also hold his head down, obscuring his face from the cameras with a baseball hat. 

He never used a gun and never shouted. He would quietly wait until the teller had filled the bag with money before fleeing the scene. 

Once he was far enough from the bank he would then change into his spandex biking gear, so that no one would ever suspect a bike rider. 

During Justice’s first heist, he walked away with $15,000, which he gave to the homeless. He only kept the two-dollar bills as souvenirs. 

Justice started riding at the age of 13. He was arrested at the age of 31 in May 2002. He pleaded guilty to the charges against him and spent nine years in federal prison. Justice, 48, now works at a donut shop and still races in Libertyville, Illinois

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Justice started riding at the age of 13. He was arrested at the age of 31 in May 2002. He pleaded guilty to the charges against him and spent nine years in federal prison. Justice, 48, now works at a donut shop and still races in Libertyville, Illinois

Justice started riding at the age of 13. He was arrested at the age of 31 in May 2002. He pleaded guilty to the charges against him and spent nine years in federal prison. Justice, 48, now works at a donut shop and still races in Libertyville, Illinois

Justice would leave his custom-built, orange Steelman bike (pictured) parked outside a bank before walking inside and handing the teller a note. The notes would usually read something along the lines of: 'I've got a gun, give me the money'

Justice would leave his custom-built, orange Steelman bike (pictured) parked outside a bank before walking inside and handing the teller a note. The notes would usually read something along the lines of: 'I've got a gun, give me the money'

Justice would leave his custom-built, orange Steelman bike (pictured) parked outside a bank before walking inside and handing the teller a note. The notes would usually read something along the lines of: ‘I’ve got a gun, give me the money’

He never used a gun and never shouted. He would quietly wait until the teller had filled the bag with money before fleeing the scene. Justice robbed the Union Bank in Walnut Creek, California

He never used a gun and never shouted. He would quietly wait until the teller had filled the bag with money before fleeing the scene. Justice robbed the Union Bank in Walnut Creek, California

He never used a gun and never shouted. He would quietly wait until the teller had filled the bag with money before fleeing the scene. Justice robbed the Union Bank in Walnut Creek, California

As he continued to rob other banks, he started using the money for steroids. 

While robbing banks, Justice was training for the Olympics and doping to improve his performance. 

Justice, who started riding at the age of 13, moved back to Chicago in 2002 after an injury kept him out of the Olympics. 

He then decided to rob another bank in March 2002, but this time he had a close call with police. 

An officer by the name of Greg Thompson responded to the scene of a bank robbery in Walnut Creek, California, where he spotted Justice fleeing the scene on an orange bike. 

Thompson flagged the man down, and asked to see inside his bag, but Justice fled. 

According to the Chicago Magazine, Justice ‘swerved around the police car, crossed two lanes, and hopped the curb’ before disappearing.

It wasn’t until May 2002 that Justice’s luck ran out. 

After swiping cash from a bank, Justice was caught during a routine police stop. He tried to escape by riding away, but it was too late. 

He was arrested at the age of 31. He pleaded guilty to the charges against him and spent nine years in federal prison.  

Justice, 48, now works at a donut shop and he still races on the same velodrome in Libertyville, Illinois. 

But some of the officers involved with the case still look back at it with some fondness. 

Officer Dexter, of Walnut Creek, said: ‘I have a certain respect for a smart crook,’ he says. ‘The whole changing clothes thing — his MO was so good.’

And Justice does not consider himself the average criminal.

‘I’m not just a bank robber — I’m a great bank robber,’ he told his roommate.  

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