Serial bank robbers sought by authorities

April 9, 2008 11:23:44 AM PDT
Police say serial robbers have struck at least three banks in southeast Houston and authorities want them off the streets.Crime Stoppers and the FBI Bank Robbery Task force held a press conference today to get help from the public.

There have been three bank robberies within three months and now, police fear there was a fourth this month. Authorities say that another concern is the bank robbers have become increasingly violent and aggressive.

Surveillance photos captured the first robbery on January 22. In that robbery, a suspect showing a gun ordered a teller to hand over the money. By the time of the second robbery, which was February 12, two suspects jumped the teller counter. They were armed.

The last known robbery, which was on March 17, two suspects jumped over the teller counter, shouting for money. A bank employee was kicked and beaten even though that employee, say authorities, was complying with the robber's demand.

Each bank robbery follows a similar pattern.

"They are all take over style robberies. The suspects run into the banks. They force all of the customers, all the employees to get on the floor. They are all armed," said Sgt. Davis Ryza with the Houston Police Department. "These individuals have not attempted to rob any of the customers and they really have not hurt any of the customers. They have been rougher on the bank employees and I think that's more to intimidate them to get what they want."

The robberies have all happened in the same southeast Houston area. The first hit was at the First Service Credit Union at 8989 Clearwood. The second hit was the Bank of America on 9875 Black Hawk. At that bank, a dye pack exploded on the money. The last robbery happened at the Wachovia Bank at 10009 Almeda Genoa.

There are a total of eight suspects in these three robberies. Anyone with information is being asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. A $5,000 reward is being offered.

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