Police release surveillance photos of 'Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit'

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Five employees were tied up and sprayed with an unknown substance after they were confronted by a robber as they arrived for work at a Scottsdale bank Wednesday morning. That robber has now been dubbed the "Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit" because he allegedly broke into a Christian bookstore before entering a Peoria bank and robbing it last year.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Scottsdale police received a call from an employee at the Johnson Bank branch near Scottsdale Road and Ashler Hills Drive.

The man told police that a suspect armed with a handgun was inside the bank when employees reported to work.

The suspect reportedly tied up the man and four female employees. The suspect sprayed the employees with an unknown substance, which was later determined not to be hazardous.

The suspect then fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The employees managed to free themselves and call 911.

No employees were injured during the incident.

The suspect has not been located. The Scottsdale Police Department and the FBI are investigating and have released surveillance photos of the robber leaving the Johnson Bank in North Scottsdale.

Investigators believe the same man is responsible for three other bank robberies: National Bank of Arizona, 7202 E. Carefree Drive, Carefree, on April 27; Chase Bank, 4819 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix, on Dec. 11; and Chase Bank, 8978 W. Union Hills Drive, Peoria, on March 24, 2009.

According to the FBI Bank Robbery Task Force, which is made up of the Phoenix Police Department, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the Mesa Police Department, the suspect used the same modus operandi in each case. He wore black and camouflage clothing, as well as a pair of goggles.

The suspect is between 5 feet 8 and 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs between 170 and 180 pounds. He's between the ages of 28 and 40 and is believed to be armed.

Anyone with information about the "Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit" should call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. You also can call the the FBI at 602-279-5511 or go to www.BanditTrackerArizona.com.