Most wanted bank robber one step closer to capture - FOX 10 News |

Most wanted bank robber one step closer to capture

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Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit - Wal-Mart purchase Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit - Wal-Mart purchase
Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit - Wal-Mart purchase Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit - Wal-Mart purchase
Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit - Wal-Mart purchase Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit - Wal-Mart purchase

He's the most wanted bank robber in Arizona. This guy's not only dangerous -- he's pretty creative as well.

While most bank robbers use the front doors to carry out their heist, this one cuts his way in, slicing whatever he can to get in -- then holding the employees hostage.

The FBI has named him the "Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit."

Is this the man who has hit 7 banks in just over 3 years? Every time he wears a dark ski mask, military style goggles and backpack. He typically takes employees hostage, gets the money, and then leaves through a back door.

His robberies started in March of 2009 at the Chase branch at 91st Avenue and Union Hills in Peoria.

"It was an unusual M.O. for us. Something we don't usually see," says FBI Special Agent Lance Leising.

The robber cut a hole in a neighboring business, entered the bank early in the morning then, one by one, zip tied employees' legs and hands when they showed up for work. At gunpoint, he forced them to open the vault.

"Most bank robbers are more the thug style mentality. They go in, the gun is in your face screaming and yelling, putting people on the ground, it is sloppy," says Leising. "But this individual he is patient. He's calm he reassures his victims."

Special Agent Lance Leising has been trying to catch this guy, but the robber's list of banks keeps growing. They're spread out all over the valley. And in each one he cuts his way in.

SkyFox was over this bank in Phoenix last year. You can see the hole he cut on the roof. Here's a close up photo from the FBI.

"All banks have security measures that make it very difficult for anyone to breach the side of the bank. What this individual did is found a way to either avoid or defeat those systems."

In one robbery he cut through the wall and entered from underneath an employee's desk.

In another he cut out part of a door and waited for workers to show up before going in.

The FBI believes he watches the banks for weeks then executes his plan with military-like precision.

"The way this individual uses the military equipment, and then uses the terms within the robberies during a stressful situation, that leads me to believe he has got that training. Beyond military experience we believe experience with bank security systems in some way."

But with the FBI onto him he seems to have changed things up. In May, at this bank in north Scottsdale, he cut his way in, but instead of waiting for employees he tried to break into the vault alone in the middle of the night. It didn't work.

"Once he realized he was not going to break into this vault, instead of forcing the issue and trying so hard that he messes up and takes too much time and gets caught, he just washes his hands of it and leaves."

Two months later, he cut his way into this Chase Bank in Peoria, planted a fake bomb, waited for employees to show up, called in a bomb threat and demanded a money drop. Within minutes, he had the cash and was gone.

By changing his M.O. this robber may have given investigators their best chance yet to catch him. They were able to trace the cell phone used that day to the store where it was purchased.

Surveillance video may have caught the Thou Shall Not Steal Bandit. He bought that prepaid cell phone a few days before the July robbery.

Inside the store, in the middle of the summer, he's got on a long sleeve shirt, sunglasses and straw hat. If you look at his hand in this photo, you can see he appears to be wearing latex gloves. Not your typical Wal-Mart shopper.

"He knew that eventually we were going to find those photos. We were going to see him. We were going to trace it back to that purchase of that phone and he concealed himself well enough days prior to the robbery so that he wouldn't be ultimately identified by us," says Leising.

But the FBI is hoping someone may be able to help ID this man, who until now, has only been seen publicly like this.

The FBI's best description of the robber is a white man anywhere from 5'6" to 5'10" and 150 to 185 pounds.


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