TCF Bandit Has Robbed 12 Banks In Chicago And Western Suburbs
Reporting Jay Levine CHICAGO (CBS) ―
The 'TCF Bandit' has been on a three-year rampage robbing banks and escaping every time. If you have any information, call the Chicago FBI at (312) 421-6700.
Cold Case Minute: TCF Bandit
He doesn't change much about his appearance: same cap, same glasses. Each time, it's the same technique as he hits his favorite bank at your local grocery store. So, why can't they catch this guy? CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.
He's got a three-year winning streak. Only one Chicago bank robber has hit more banks: 30 between the two of them. The other guy has apparently retired.
But not the TCF Bandit, so-called because 10 of his 12 jobs were at TCF branches inside Jewel supermarkets; including the latest this week in Countryside.
Each time, security cameras snap his picture. He's wearing his usual ball cap and sunglasses.
"I have a gun," he says, as usual, but has never even shown it. Not in Countryside, or at any of the other eight locations.
Bank jobs which began in February of 2007, and have continued in Chicago and its western suburbs for 36 months; until Monday's heist which was his12th hit.
There's now a $20,000 price on his head. It's posted on FBI flyers and his picture is all over the FBI's website: Bandit Tracker Chicago.
At what point does it become personal?
"I don't think it ever becomes personal with the investigators, from my own experience," said Chicago FBI spokesman Ross Rice. "It can become frustrating. It can make you more focused and want to solve the case."
Neither Rice nor TCF will discuss security issues of supermarket banks.
But security consultant Perry Myers showed CBS 2 new technology available to them, questioning the positioning of their cameras.
"I notice they're coming from the top down, which his baseball cap helps protect his face somewhat," Myers said. "If they threw a few different angles in there, maybe a camera that was down on the counter shooting up, for a better look at face."
Before the TCF bandit, there was the Wheaton Bandit, who pulled off 18 similar heists without getting caught. But he suddenly disappeared after someone saw him without a mask and the FBI widely circulated a sketch.
"Some people, including myself, think that he saw that sketch of himself," Rice said. "He recognized how close he came to being caught and he stopped."
The TCF bandit even went back to the same Franklin Park branch three times, another twice. So why hasn't he been caught?
"The only thing we really have that's a good lead is the photograph itself," Rice said. "If you know this person and you see that photograph, you're gonna recognize him."
Ross Rice may say it never gets personal, and it is true, this guy hasn't done anything to taunt his pursuers.
But the fact is, the FBI was created for and made its name catching bank robbers. Even though its main responsibility now is national security, seeing a guy rip off bank after bank and get away scot-free can't be fun.
CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall contributed to this report.
(© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)