FBI seeks public's help to identify 'Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit'

Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit

Credit: FBI

'Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit' on Sept. 6, 2011


by Jennifer Thomas


Posted on November 20, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 25 at 4:29 PM

PHOENIX -- The FBI's Bank Robbery Task Force is asking for the public's help in identifying the "Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit."

The FBI said the suspect is responsbile for seven bank robberies in the Valley over the past three years. They include:

March 24, 2009, Chase Bank, 8978 W. Union Hills Drive, Peoria;

Dec. 11, 2009, Chase Bank, 4819 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix;

April 27, 2010, National Bank of AZ, 7202 E. Carefree Drive, Carefree;

Oct. 27, 2010, Johnson Bank, 32621 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale;

Sept. 6, 2011, First Fidelity Bank, 6232 N. 32nd St., Phoenix;

May 25, 2012, Alerus Bank and Trust, 17045 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale;

July 3, 2012, Chase Bank, 28523 N. El Mirage Road, Peoria.

In the first two robberies, the suspect forced entry into the businesses adjacent to the banks prior to opening and then cut holes in the adjoining drywall to enter the banks, according to investigators. During the third robbery, the suspect entered the bank through a hole he cut in the exterior wall and in the fourth robbery he accessed the bank through a hole he cut in the roof.

Investigators said the suspect waits in the bank until employees arrive for work then confronts them with a black, semi-automatic handgun or a silver revolver and forces them to access the money. He restrains the employees with blindfolds and flex ties before fleeing with the money.

At the Alerus Bank and Trust, the suspect entered the bank on a Friday evening and attempted to gain access to the vault himself. After having no success, he fled without obtaining any money.

During the July 3 robbery, the suspect accessed the Chase Bank through a hole in the roof and left a phone taped to a device resembling sticks of dynamite inside the bank. The suspect threatened to blow up the bank if the employees did not place money in a nearby desert wash area.

Investigators released a store surveillance photograph from June 28 that shows the person who purchased the telephone used in the July 3 incident.

Investigators believe the suspect is conducting prior surveillance and detailed planning before each of the robberies. He may have previous military experience and familiarity with bank security systems.

The subject is described as a white or Hispanic male, 28 to 40 years old, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, and 150 to 180 pounds. He has most recently worn a camouflage ski mask with goggles or sunglasses, black zippered jacket, long-sleeved shirt, dark pants, motorcycle gloves, and tennis shoes. The subject has displayed a great deal of calm, at times attempting to reassure frightened victims.

If anyone has information regarding the identity of the Thou Shall Not Steal Bandit or the person who purchased the cellphone, contact the FBI at 623-466-1999 or online at www.BanditTrackerArizona.com.

The FBI Bank Robbery Task Force is composed of the Phoenix Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the Mesa Police Department.