FBI suspects armed robbers may be ex-military or former police

PITTSBURGH, PA (KTRK) -- A string of takeover bank robberies in the Pittsburgh area may be the work of good guys gone bad. The FBI believes a pair of men responsible for three robberies may be former police officers or ex-soldiers.

The first robbery took place at a Citizens Bank in January. There was a similar robbery on February 21st just a few miles away. The FBI agent in charge of the case says surveillance photos showed the robbers were well trained.

"The trigger finger is off the trigger guard, that is, when you're handling a weapon safely, that's what you do until you intend to shoot, so, not everybody knows that," says Assistant Special Agent in Charge Patrick Fallon.

The violence of the robberies appears to be escalating. Last Friday, the FBI believes that same men robbed the First Niagara Bank. One robber pointed a gun at a bank employee's head. Fallon says they also verbally threatened workers, "They've threatened to kidnap a bank employee, they've alluded to the automatic weapons in their vehicle. And they would engage law enforcement should they be pursued."

The FBI is hunting for the four door Toyota Corolla the men have been using as a getaway vehicle. They are also offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to their arrest.

A former FBI agent says apprehending them will be tricky.

"If they're former law enforcement, they're going to make sure they have if right gear on, the right weapons. They're going to have an escape route and plans for contingencies," says Steve Gomez.
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