Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

November 2020
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: Bank robber

FBI Cracks Nut in Illinois Bank Heist: Cuts Trapped Robber Free From Duct

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Bank robber Charles Estell, 38, of Illinois, spent the night trapped in a duct before police cut him free and arrested him, reports CBS News.

Estell must have watched all the right movies to help plan his weekend bank heist. Problem is, he was more Charlie Chaplin than Sean Connery in his execution.

The FBI alleges that Estell dropped into the suburban Chicago bank through the roof Saturday by cutting through 6 inches of concrete, says CBS. He then tied up bank employees at gun point, and stuffed his backpack with 100,000 bucks.

He then ran to a roof of a neighboring office building, broke a window and cut his hand. Investigators spent hours looking for the aspiring 007, who  left  trail drops of blood.

The thief, wearing a wig of dreadlocks, had stuffed himself into a tight duct and become immobilized.

Michael Kaufmann, division chief of the Oak Lawn Police, notes Estell was lucky to get caught, “because if they’d never found him, he could’ve died in there.”

To read more click here.

FBI Suspects “Geezer Bandit” Ain’t Such a Geezer: Looking for Customers Who Bought Elderly Mask

fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Dumfounded by the success of the “Geezer Bandit” — a prolific bank robber who appears to be in his 70s — the FBI in Southern California  is now aggressively pursuing the theory that he is actually a younger man who has donned a mask while sticking up 16 banks in the San Diego area since August 2009.

The LA Times reports that investigators in the case have served a search warrant at a costume store in the San Luis Obispo area. The warrant asks for a list of customers who bought a mask known as “The Elder.”

After the last robbery on Dec. 2 in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the FBI issued a statement, according to the paper, stating:

“The robber was described as someone who appeared to be an elderly white male, but may have been wearing a synthetic-like mask and gloves to conceal his true physical characteristics.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

FBI’s Most Wanted Man in Houston Surrenders

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s most wanted man in Houston has turned himself in, reports the local ABC affiliate. The bureau had posted billboards with the man’s photos just days before.

Patrick Simmons is a suspect in a bank robbery where a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy was shot, according to ABC, putting him on the Houston FBI’s most wanted list on Thursday. Simmons turned himself in on Sunday evening at the FBI Houston office.

The 27-year-old and a group of eight others were said to be heavily armed when targeting banks, usually inside grocery stores–at least eight of them since August of 2010.

To read more click here.

Six Decades Later, FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List Still Hard to Crack

Osama bin Laden

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — In the film “Take the Money and Run,” Woody Allen played a bumbling, publicity-starved petty criminal named Virgil Starkwell. “You know he never made the Ten Most Wanted list,” Starkwell’s wife, Louise, lamented in the 1969 comedy. “It’s very unfair voting. It’s who you know.”

As Allen’s fictitious character learned, getting on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list is no easy feat. Just being a vicious criminal or a menace to society isn’t always enough.

For one, there has to be an opening. And then there’s the selection process: A committee at FBI headquarters reviews dozens of candidates from FBI field offices — there are 56 in all — before the top brass weighs in with a final decision.

“I’d be lying to say there’s no politics involved” in getting someone on the list, Tony Riggio, a former FBI agent and official, told AOL News.

In 1978, Riggio had the first organized crime figure — Cleveland mobster Anthony “Tony Lib” Liberatore — placed on the Most Wanted list. Riggio said sometimes an extra call to headquarters from a top official in the field helped get someone on the list, adding, “Being a top 10 case agent is really a feather in your cap. I got a lot of respect.”

James Earl Ray/fbi photo

Over the years, the Ten Most Wanted alum have included some of the nation’s most notorious criminals, including escaped Martin Luther King Jr. assassin James Earl Ray, serial killer Ted Bundy and current member, Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, who is wanted in connection with 19 murders. Most stay on until they are captured, a case no longer seems solid or authorities figure the person has died. Osama bin Laden was on the list up until his execution on May 1.

According to the FBI website, the list came about after a reporter for the International News in 1949 told the FBI he was interested in writing a story about the “toughest guys” the FBI was after. The FBI provided the names and descriptions of 10 fugitives — four escaped prisoners, three con men, two murder suspects and a bank robber — and the reporter wrote a story that captured national attention and triggered hundreds of tips.

Earlier this month, the bigger-than-life list, which had long become part of the American vernacular, turned 61. For decades a fixture in post offices and banks, the Ten Most Wanted photos are now more likely to pop up on TV shows, billboards and the Internet through websites and trendy social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

“We recognize the unique ability of the media to cast a wider net within communities here and abroad,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said in a statement marking the 60th anniversary. “The FBI can send agents to visit a thousand homes to find a witness, but the media can visit a million homes in an instant.”

Brad Bryant, chief of the Violent Crimes/Major Offenders Unit at FBI headquarters, says getting on the list is “very competitive.” Field offices are notified at once when an opening occurs.

“The criteria we’re looking for are, first of all, they must be particularly dangerous or be a menace to society or have a lengthy criminal history,” Bryant said.

Often, dozens of recommendations come in to headquarters, Bryant said. Field offices submit packets with information about the case, including a case file, photos and reasons why the person is worthy of joining the list. Some submissions include endorsements from local police chiefs.

The Violent Crimes/Major Offenders Unit also solicits input from the media representatives at headquarters, said Rex Tomb, who was chief of the FBI’s fugitive publicity unit in Washington until he retired from the bureau in 2006.

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger

“Public affairs personnel like myself were generally asked by the Criminal Division to comment only on whether or not we believed there would be media interest in a fugitive,” Tomb said. “If for some reason there is little or no public interest in a particular case, reporters would generally pass on writing about it. … If there would be little print given to a Top Ten fugitive then there is really little or no reason to put him or her on the list.”

The candidates for the list are reviewed by a committee of agents from the Violent Crimes/Major Offenders unit, who carefully look over the submissions and case files.

“We rank the top four or five in the packet, and we prepare a briefing packet for the assistant director of the criminal division and his boss and the deputy director and the director,” Bryant said. Mueller must then sign off on it.

The tenor of the times has been reflected in the list over the years. In the 1950s, it hosted bank robbers. In the 1960s, some radicals made the cut, and later, organized crime figures and drug traffickers and eventually terrorists, violent gang members and sexual predators were added.

The shortest time anyone spent on the list was two hours. The longest-tenured was Donald Eugene Webb, wanted in the slaying of a police chief in Saxonburg, Pa., in 1980. He stayed on for 25 years, 10 months and 27 days before being removed in 2007. The FBI provided little reason why, only to say he no longer fit the criteria.

The oldest person ever to make the list is mobster Bulger, who got on in 1999 at age 69 and has stayed there ever since.

The list is regarded as a highly successful tool for the FBI. Of the 494 who have appeared on the list, 463 have been captured or located, with 152 of those from a direct result of citizen cooperation, the FBI said.

There are countless stories of citizens’ tips from the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list resulting in arrests. Two fugitives were even apprehended as a result of visitors on an FBI tour who saw the photos.

Ted Bundy

Retired FBI agent Brad Garrett said that in the end, a $2 million-plus cash award — not the Ten Most Wanted listing — helped bring in information that led to the capture of fugitive Mir Aimal Kasi at a seedy hotel in Pakistan. Kasi opened fire outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in 1993, killing two CIA employees and wounding three others. A few months after the shooting, he landed on the list.

“It’s an incredibly successful and novel idea, and it has captured hundreds of fugitives,” Garrett said of the famous list. “But I think it’s a lot more effective in the U.S. than outside” in places like Pakistan.

“I think the idea of a top 10 didn’t carry a lot of weight” in this case, Garrett said. “The dollar signs after his name carried a lot of weight.”

Calif. “Geezer Bandit” In No Hurry to Retire

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

It appears the California “Geezer Bandit” isn’t about to retire from a life of crime anytime soon.

The FBI says the prolific bandit on Tuesday knocked over his seventh bank since August — this time in Vista, a community in northern San Diego County. The FBI has described him as 60 to 70 years old.

According to authorities, the robber, clad in a blue San Diego Padres baseball cap with a script-style P on it, walked into the California Bank and Trust on Escondido Avenue in Vista at about 9:10 a.m.

The FBI said he waited at a customer kiosk until a teller was available. He then approached with what appeared to be two $20 bills in his hand. The teller, the FBI said, assumed the man wanted change.

But instead he showed the teller a note saying that it was a robbery and that he was armed.

To read complete story click here.

More Thieves Aren’t Turning to Bank Robbery in Bad Enconomy, FBI Stats Show

bank-robberyBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — The economy may still suck, but thieves haven’t been turning to banks in greater numbers to score cash, according to the FBI.

FBI statistics released Monday show that the number of bank robberies and larcenies, burglaries and extortions of banks dropped by more than 11 percent last year, going from 6,857 in 2008 to 6,065 in 2009.

The drop in robberies translated into a dip in stolen cash. Robbers in 2009 scooped up $45.9 million from banks, compared with $61.6 million in 2008, the FBI said. Of the 2009 total, more than $8 million was returned to the institutions.

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

Notable bank robbers in 2009 included the “Geezer Bandit,” a man believed to be in his 60 or 70s who has frustrated authorities in San Diego.

Rail thin and clad in a baseball cap, he discreetly walks into banks, quietly produces a gun and a demand note and walks off with an undisclosed amount of cash. He has robbed six banks — five in 2009 and one in 2010 — and remains at large.

To read more click here.

FBI Says Bank Robberies Dropped in 2009 Despite Bad Economy

bank-robberyBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The economy may still suck, but more thieves are not turning to banks for financial relief, according to the FBI.

The FBI bank robbery stats released Monday showed that the number of bank robberies, larcenies, burglaries and extortions dropped by a little over 11 percent in 2009 from 6,065 to 6,857 in 2008, the FBI said.

The agency said in 2009 there were 5,943 robberies, 100 burglaries, 19 larcenies, and three extortions of financial institutions.

To read the FBI press release click here.

Make No Mistake: Bank Robber in Nixon Mask is a Crook

fbi photo

fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For Aol News

WASHINGTON — It was in November 1973 that President Richard Nixon famously declared, “I’m not a crook.”

Now, nearly 37 years later, a crook has been prancing around Encino, a hilly district in Los Angeles, impersonating our 37th president, wearing a Nixon mask and sticking up banks with a gun.

So far, the man dubbed the “Ex-President Bandit” has hit four banks, the FBI says. Two stickups happened within a week in November, and another two took place during a week in January.

The suspect, who was described as being a black male in his 40s, brandished a gun “liberally throughout the bank to enforce orders given to victims in the bank,” according to the FBI.

To read more click here.