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"Wig Wearing Bandits" Drive Bank Robberies Up | News

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"Wig Wearing Bandits" Drive Bank Robberies Up
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ATLANTA -- You might think there have been a lot of bank robberies from watching news recently. The FBI says you're right. What is troubling them most is the nature of those robberies. Many of them are violent with customers and employees being terrorized inside the banks.

On Tuesday, a man wearing a porcelain mask jumped over the counter at the Chase Bank on Piedmont Road in Atlanta. He had a gun and cleared out the teller drawers.

On Thursday, two men wearing hoodies stormed a SunTrust Bank on Paces Ferry Road in Vinings shouting orders and brandishing a gun. The FBI calls them "Takeover Robberies". They are the kind that grabs media attention and yours.

They are two of a dozen takeover robberies that have happened in the Atlanta metro area in less than two months. "They put customers and employees down on the floor, they will jump over the teller counters waving guns around," said Stephen Emmett, a Special Agent with the FBI. Emmett said more than half of the robberies could be solved with the arrest of two men who wear wigs when they rob banks.

The first bank they robbed was the Wachovia Bank on Clairmont Road in DeKalb County on July 21st. The FBI is looking at the pair for as many as six more robberies since.

They are called the "Wig Wearing Bandits" because they both wear wigs with extremely long hair down to their wastes. They charge into banks with hair and guns flailing, with no regard for customers or employees. "Their guns are being waved in the air, they're pointing them directly at individuals and they're shouting demands," Emmett said. "People in the bank are confused and being forced to the ground."

On Thursday, one of the Wig Wearing Bandits fired a shot into the ceiling at a Wachovia Bank in Snellville. The FBI said their violence is escalating. "If they are confronted by either a customer or law enforcement inside the bank acting in that manner, who knows what could happen," Emmett said.

Of the twelve violent robberies, only two have been solved. The porcelain mask bandit was arrested after being identified by a tipster. Though he wore a mask in the bank, he put it on after he walked by an outdoor ATM with a surveillance camera.

A man who tried to rob a SunTrust Bank in Buckhead Thursday was arrested by Atlanta Police. The suspect tried to commandeer a cab outside the bank but the cab driver had a gun, slowing him up until police arrived.

The FBI says Wells Fargo is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Wig Wearing Bandits. Tips should go the FBI at 404-679-9000.

 

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