A bank robber has hit at least nine banks, making off with more than $400,000.
WANTED: the cowboy boot bandit
DOB: 1945 to 1955
Height: 6’ to 6’2”
Weight: 200 to 220 lbs.
Hair: Dark with gray
Remarks: Is known to wear cowboy boots during robberies
Composite sketch of the bandit
On September 19 th , 1987, a well-dressed man entered a bank in Spokane, Washington, pulled a gun on a teller, and announced he was holding up the bank. He showed the terrified bank employees a police scanner, and claimed that he would know if they tried to alert the police. The robber ordered everyone into the vault, then followed them in. He forced a teller to empty the cash drawers until she had turned over $100,000. When he fled, he left no fingerprints, and even managed to avoid being photographed.
Almost a year later, the same bandit stole $14,000 from another Spokane bank. According to FBI Agent Steven L. Pomerantz, this time, he got an unexpected surprise:
“A dye pack was given to the robber, which went off within seconds of him leaving the bank. Obviously that caused a commotion on the street, and a witness did observe that commotion.”
He was finally captured on tape
After another robbery three months later, bank employees were able to create composites of the bandit. However, the sketches were no substitute for photographs. Amazingly, the robber had managed to avoid all of the cameras in all of the banks. But, early the next summer, his luck changed. This time, frightened but quick-thinking bank tellers took a chance. One of the tellers asked that we conceal her identity:
“He walked up to the counter and pulled out his gun and put on sunglasses at the same time. And he then told us that he wanted to go into the vault. He had one of the girls hold the bag while I got the money out, put the money in the bag, and he told us to empty out the teller drawers. He went to one drawer at a time. And when we pulled all the money out, there was a bill trap underneath some of the bills. We pulled the money out from underneath the bill trap, which triggered the alarm.”
His last known heist
Not only was the silent alarm activated, but the bank’s surveillance camera was also triggered. For the first time, the robber was caught on film. Agent Pomerantz said it was the break they were hoping for:
“Getting a photo in this robbery was a big step forward for us in our investigation. Up till this point all we had were witness descriptions of the bank robber. It did result in us linking him to three additional bank robberies as a suspect in Tucson, Arizona. So that was a major step forward in determining the scope of what he’s been doing, as well as an aide to identification.”
The Cowboy Bandit remains at large.
Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season three with Robert Stack and in season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.
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