"Hot Head Bandit" suspect indicted in string of Phoenix-area bank robberies

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE -- July 7:

PHOENIX -- A federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a 25-count indictment Tuesday against Timothy John Kestle, 55, of Litchfield Park, charging him with 13 counts of armed bank robbery and 12 counts of possessing or using a firearm during the commission of the bank robberies.

The indictment alleges that Kestle committed 13 bank robberies in Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, Chandler, Litchfield Park and Goodyear from August 2009 through April 2010.

ORIGINAL REPORT -- Authorities arrest suspect in string of Phoenix-area bank robberies

PHOENIX -- Authorities have arrested a man believed to be responsible for a string of bank robberies in the Phoenix area.

Timothy John Kestle is allegedly the "Hot Head Bandit." The suspect was dubbed the Hot Head Bandit because he wore a baseball cap with flames on the bill during two of the robberies.

According to Phoenix FBI Special Agent in Charge Nathan Thomas Gray, Kestle was taken into custody and charged with armed bank robbery.

They say Kestle allegedly displayed a black semi-automatic handgun and gave verbal demands for money during each of the robberies.

On Jan. 20, Kestle allegedly robbed two tellers at the First Arizona Savings Bank at 49th Avenue and Bell Road in Phoenix. He held a gun, ordered the tellers to "give me all your money," and ran away with the stolen money.

On April 5, Kestle allegedly robbed the Washington Federal Savings located at Alma School and Chandler Heights roads in Chandler. FBI Bank Robbery Task Force members canvassed the surrounding businesses and were able to obtain video surveillance footage, showing an unknown white male exiting a small pickup truck and walking toward the bank.

A short time later, the footage showed the man running from the bank to the truck and driving through the parking lot. The truck was identified as a Dodge Dakota Sport, 4x2 pickup truck made between 1993 and 1997.

On April 7, Kestle allegedly robbed the Compass Bank inside the Albertson's grocery store near Union Hills Drive and Cave Creek Road in Phoenix where Kestle allegedly showed his firearm and robbed three tellers, two of whom gave him money from their drawers.

On June 7, officers from the Peoria Police Department observed a white Dodge Dakota matching the description of the vehicle leaving the scene of the April 5 bank robbery. Upon contact with the driver, police detectives recognized him from previous law enforcement bulletins. The driver was identified as Kestle.

Follow-up investigation by the FBI's Bank Robbery Task Force has allegedly linked Kestle to numerous bank robberies.