‘Business Bandit’ getting more aggressive during bank robberies, FBI says – Sun Sentinel

“Business Bandit” has been holding up banks in three South Florida counties for the past two years, and is becoming more aggressive with tellers during armed robberies, an FBI special agent says.

Source: www.sun-sentinel.com

bank robbery

‘Business Bandit’ getting more aggressive during bank robberies, FBI says

A man the FBI calls the “Business Bandit” has begun a third year of holding up banks in South Florida — and he’s growing bolder during robberies, the FBI warned Wednesday.

“He hasn’t injured anyone but he is definitely progressing in his level of aggression,” said Special Agent Justin Fleck, who supervises the violent crimes squad for the FBI’s Miami field office.

The man has held up banks in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to the FBI.

He usually wears glasses and a flat cap and often sports a suit jacket or tie, leading to the nickname bestowed on him by the feds. His facial hair has grown from a goatee to a beard, but with more publicity, he may change his look.

“He’s well dressed,” Fleck said. “He could be working at the bank if he wasn’t robbing it. It’s a shame he’s chosen this route in life.”

The man started off doing “note jobs,” when he passed a handwritten message to a teller and demanded money. Now he’s brandishing a firearm, Fleck said. “And then he does a kind of takeover style of robbery, where he announces himself, is yelling, pounding on glass, to where it’s apparent to everyone in the bank that a robbery is in progress and everyone is in danger.”

In some cases, tellers have been reluctant to hand over cash, didn’t take him seriously or were safe behind a barrier, and their slow reactions angered him, Fleck said. Investigators are also worried about how the suspect handles his handgun.

“He’s got his finger on the trigger, which from a law enforcement point of view you’re not supposed to do unless you’re ready to fire that gun,” Fleck said. “It could go off, even if he didn’t intend it to, say, if he was startled.”

An unusual clue was captured in bank surveillance photos: As the man grips a large frame, black semi-automatic pistol, he wears clear, loose gloves that look like those worn by workers in restaurants or food preparation businesses.

The FBI won’t say how much money the Business Bandit has stolen since they say the robberies began in Boca Raton in December, 2015. This month, on March 2, he held up a Bank of America branch in Cooper City, the FBI said.

So far, the FBI is linking the man to 10 bank robberies. Other agencies that are part of the investigation are the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office; Broward Sheriff’s Office; Miami-Dade Police; Boca Raton Police; Palm Beach Gardens Police; Jupiter Police and members of the South Florida Violent Crime Task Force.

“We’re really counting on the public to come through,” Fleck said about a reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of anyone involved in these holdups.

Crime Stoppers in Broward County will pay up to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest. The FBI asks anyone with information about the bank robberies to call 754-703-2000 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477; Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477 or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 800-458-8477.

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Republished by the Law Office of Scott A. Ferris, P.A.