(WJZY) — When a serial bank robber, dubbed the Too Tall Bandit by the FBI, robbed a bank last week in Western North Carolina, it came 11 years to the minute of his first bank robbery.
He’s terrorized bank employees across the southeast for more than a decade.
The bandit is unique in terms of his longevity, violence and apparent pattern in his crimes.
“He comes in very aggressive, fully covered, pointing a gun at employees,” said Shelly Lynch with the FBI’s Charlotte Field office. “It’s frightening. You can only imagine how frightening that can be.”
He’s always covered head-to-toe. Sometimes he’s wearing a menacing Halloween mask.
His large stature, possibly around 6’6” and 250lbs, and deep voice are known to strike terror in the helpless tellers.
“He tends to rob banks just before they close. He goes in just as they’re getting ready to close. Many times it’s a Friday,” Lynch said.
The FBI believes he’s robbed as many as 16 banks in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
His most recent robbery, at a bank in Etowah, NC, came at the same time, the same date, and used the same style as his first.
“Is that a coincidence? Is it on purpose? That we don’t know,” said Lynch.
The kind of takeover robberies that the Too Tall Bandit commits are uncommon, according to the FBI, these days most bank robbers pass the teller a note.
Another possible pattern of the bandit is that many of his robberies, 11 of the 16, have taken place in November.
Often, he’ll take a year, sometimes two, between robberies. Possibly a reason why he’s managed to elude authorities for so long.
While no eye witness has ever seen his face, his unique height and a limp on his right leg are two clues that the FBI hopes someone might recognize.
The FBI is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
“We want to get him into custody as soon as we can before someone gets hurt,” said Lynch.