Serial bank robber arrest by FBI task force

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PHOENIX - The following is a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice:

U.S. Attorney Diane J. Humetewa and Phoenix FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Nathan Thomas Gray announced today the arrest of Robert Nejbauer, Jr., 48, of Tempe, Ariz., by the FBI's Violent Crimes/Bank Robbery Task Force. Nejbauer is the third serial bank robber arrested and charged in the past three weeks. Nejbauer was arrested on May 27, 2009 and charged on May 28, 2009. He is in federal custody and is set to make his initial appearance in federal court at 3:00 p.m. today.

According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court, the Task Force was conducting surveillance of Nejbauer on Wednesday, May 27, 2009, as he drove from Tempe to Mesa. He started to circle the First International Bank & Trust on Main Street in Mesa, Ariz., then parked his car across the street from the bank and walked toward it. As he approached the street he was apprehended by law enforcement officials. At the time of his arrest he was wearing a single latex glove on his right hand and holding a note that demanded money and stated that he had a gun.

The complaint alleges that Nejbauer committed eight bank robberies and attempted two robberies in the East Valley and Phoenix between April 4 and May 27, 2009.During an interview with FBI officials, Nejbauer admitted to committing the robberies and attempted robberies, as well as calling in a bomb threat as a diversion for one of his robberies.

According to the complaint, Nejbauer admitted that just prior to the April 27, 2009, robbery of the Arizona Central Credit Union in Tempe, Ariz., he used a pay telephone at a convenience store in Mesa to call 911 and fraudulently reported to the 911 operator that there was a bomb at McClintock High School. This caused Tempe Police to evacuate and search the school.Nejbauer said he did this in order to create a diversion for the police officers while he robbed the bank, which is located approximately one mile from the school. Therefore, the complaint also alleges one count of using a means of interstate commerce - a telephone - to threaten to damage a building by means of an explosive device.

There have been more than 110 bank robberies in the Phoenix metropolitan area since January 1, 2009.Fifteen serial bank robbers have been responsible for 66% of those bank robberies and 14 of the 15 serial robbers have been arrested and charged.

A conviction for each count of Bank Robbery and Attempted Bank Robbery carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine or both. A conviction for Using a

Means of Interstate Commerce to Threaten to Damage and Destroy a Building by Means of an Explosive Device carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine or both.A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The FBI has partnered with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the Mesa Police Department, the Phoenix Police Department, the Scottsdale Police Department, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to form the Violent Crime/Bank Robbery Task Force in order to investigate, arrest and seek prosecution of those responsible for robbing banks in the Valley. The prosecution in this case is being handled by Alison S. Bachus, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.