Law on trail of serial robbers
EUGENE, Ore. - A rash of robberies in Eugene and Springfield at banks and pizza restaurants may be the work of a couple of serial criminals, law enforcement officials suspect.
The FBI dubbed the lanky fellow who knocked over his 6th bank in a little over a month Monday the Tall Man Bandit. A $2,000 reward has been established for his capture.
A different suspect has robbed three Little Caesars pizza restaurants and a Taco Time in recent weeks.
Wells Fargo in Eugene said they weren't one of the victims, but they are aware of the crime spree.
"Our team members are well trained, and we have state of the art equipment to keep everyone secure," said Kyle Banks from Wells Fargo Bank. "It is the business that we are in so we are at high alert all the time."
Four out of the six banks were inside super markets, like the U.S. Bank branch inside Albertsons on West 18th that was robbed on Friday.
The FBI said the Tall Man bandit was seen driving away in a dark-colored, possibly green sedan.
Police suspect a different man robbed the three pizza restaurants and the Taco Time.
"He is going in and basically making a demand for money, claiming to be armed," said Detective Tony Veach with the Eugene Police Department. "He is getting the money and taking off. He hasn't actually displayed a weapon yet."
Veach said in each robbery, the suspect tells the employee he has a handgun. There's no reason to resist the robbery, he said.
"Comply with the demand. Give him the money," Veach said. "That's what we recommend. Don't be a hero."
Veach said chances are the robbers won't be free for long. Police are able to catch about half the suspects in these serial robberies.
"There is some consistency in his M.O. about when he is hitting, where he's hitting, so I don't anticipate it going on for a long time," he said.
Eugene Police told me the number of bank robberies in Eugene actually dropped 50 percent from 2011 to 2012. They said it is too early to tell if the Tall Man Bandit robbery spree will cause an increase in robberies for this year.