The FBI is on the hunt for a Denver bank robber dubbed the 'Empty Promise Bandit'
The FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force and local law enforcement are looking for a suspect who's robbed at least three banks in Colorado's Denver metropolitan area. They're calling him the "Empty Promise Bandit."
The FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force said the suspect is a 5-foot-9 white male in his 30s, with a slender build and close-cut, light-colored hair. Photos of the suspect show him wearing a hat and a pair of sunglasses.
At least one of the robberies took place in August, FBI Public Affairs Specialist Vikki Migoya told NPR. Citing the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation, the FBI declined to comment on specific dates and locations of the robberies.
Migoya said the bandit's nickname comes from his actions inside the bank.
"The robber presents demand notes, and in the demand notes he makes assertions that he will never be able to follow up on," she said. (The FBI would not specify what exactly those assertions were.)
Anyone who has details about the robbery or could possibly identify the suspect should contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Callers can remain anonymous and could earn up to $2,000 for their assistance.
The Empty Promise Bandit has robbed multiple banks in the Denver area, including one attempted robbery. And though a weapon hasn't been spotted in any of his crimes, according to the FBI, the suspect has threated the use of a weapon on at least one occasion.
Using or brandishing a weapon during a bank robbery increases the stakes for perpetrators, according to Gannon University Associate Professor and former FBI special agent Jerry Clark. He said bringing a firearm or weapon into the mix tacks years onto a perpetrator's sentence.
Clark said bank robberies overall have been on the decline across the country, in part because cyber criminals have found ways to steal people's money without setting foot in a bank. Advances in surveillance technology are another deterrent of would-be-robbers.
Most of the heists that happen now are crimes of desperation, Clark said, carried out by individuals to fund drug and alcohol addictions, as well as people in financially dire straits.
A small fraction of robbers hope to achieve a level of notoriety — or even do it for thrills, he said.
"There are these adrenaline junkies that are doing it for the intense rush you get from going into the bank and doing that. They're far less than the other people, but they exist," Clark said.
But robbing banks comes at a steep price, punishable by up to 20 years in prison for each federal offense, the FBI said.
"It's very challenging for someone to go into a bank and have the confidence that they won't get caught," Clark said. "... It's always going to be a bad outcome."
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