The reputed ringleader of the "Beltway Bandits" gang, a group accused of committing more than 5,000 robberies in the Washington area during the late 1960s, has been sentenced by a Fairfax County court to 38 years in jail for robbing a Fairfax man in his home in June.
Joseph Francis Fearon, 35, was given the stiff sentence late Thursday by Fairfax Circuit Judge James C. Cacheris following a two-day jury trial. Cacheris accepted the jury's finding that Fearon was guilty of robbing a Fairfax resident at gunpoint in his home last June.
Fearon faces two other charges in connection with a second robbery committed this summer.
Fearon gained notoriety in the late 1960s after police identified him as the alleged ringleader of a gang that authorities dubbed the "Beltway Bandits." The group was said to have stolen $500,000 worth of goods and used the Capital Beltway to escape while traveling from suburb to suburb to burglarize homes.
Charged and convicted in Fairfax County in May 1968 for several burglaries, Fearon was ultimately sentenced to five years in the Virginia State Penitentiary. He was later convicted of several other charges including one in Arlington in which he was found guilty of threatening to dynamite the home of a county detective in 1967.
Fearon's lawyer, William J. Schewe Jr., said he would appeal Fearon's sentence.