This paper will prove this position, but referring to the study of Curott and Fink as well as an actual criminal from the American history.
To begin with, it may be pointed out that bandits show the inefficiency of the legal system in general. Indeed, the latter might be quite effective in theory, but people will always find ways to bend the law. Furthermore, the law enforcing officers are thought to be superior to criminals in every aspect. This is largely seen as the cornerstone of the stability. However, the stories of famous bandits show that they were able to outwit the officers in every aspect. Keeping this in mind, one might suggest that this shows a criminal in a completely different light: he is no longer a person who breaks the law because of some trivial reasons; he is above the law as one is stronger.
Another point that should be mentioned when it comes to analysis of the transformation of the image of a bandit is the fact that powerful bandits are often seen as those who balance the official power. Indeed, from this point of view, the government needs bandits since in this case it is will able to restore peace and order. Nevertheless, criminals may also show the fact that the state power is corrupted or is inefficient or is oppresses the people. It is quite understandable that Robin Hood type of a bandit is an idealized one, there is no doubt that some people start to walk the path of a criminal as a sign of protect to the weak government. That is why the existence of a strong criminal should be seen as an indicator of the extent of the state power.
Finally, there are numerous examples when bandits did not rob the fellow citizens, but actually provided them with a protection that was far more efficient that the one which could be provided by the government. One can hardly doubt that a criminal ceases being a criminal when one earns money