Baltimore region ranks among the highest in country for bank robberies

Posted at 4:26 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 18:49:29-04

The Baltimore FBI Violent Crimes Task Force was started more than a dozen years ago to get a handle on the number of bank heists happening across the region.

It's a Federal and local partnership between the FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service, Maryland State Police, Baltimore City Police, Baltimore County Police, Howard County Police and Anne Arundel County Police. Bank robberies are still one of the main focuses.

"You've got a large number of highly experienced investigators all working on the same basic problem, different facets of the same basic problem,” said Baltimore FBI Special Agent Patrick S. Dugan. “And when you bring those brains together we're able to do some really good work and solve some pretty significant crimes in a pretty timely manner."

The Baltimore region consistently ranks among the highest in the country for bank robberies.  So far this year, the crime is up 12 percent compared to this same time last year.

"Pretty much everyone that we deal with is a career offender and a real life bad guy," Dugan said.

He tells us most of the time these crooks carry or threaten they have a firearm, they typically have hit financial institutions in the past, and the majority don't stop with just one hold-up.

"The difference between someone who does one robbery and someone who does 15, is the guy that did one had a bad day and got caught," said Dugan.

Remember the so-called American League Bandit? He robbed 12 banks in Maryland and Virginia over eight months before he was nabbed earlier this summer.

The SummerTime Bandits went on a three-week crime spree, robbing 10 banks across Baltimore. The duo was arrested last week.

FBI officials say in both cases, help from the public was critical, and it plays a big role getting bank robbers off the streets.

"The concept works, it really works, and all that we ask is that the public continue to support us and call in when they're able to identify a suspect for us, and the task force will keep working these crimes and address it as best we can," Dugan said.