Bank Robberies Hit 10-Year Low in North Carolina, Despite 'Eyes Only Bandit'
The Charlotte Division of the FBI has been on the lookout for a bank robber who has operated in Wake, Nash, and Franklin Counties. The suspect is known as the "Eyes Only Bandit" because in each case, the robber wore a hooded jacket and gloves and covered his face with a mask, leaving only his eyes visible.
The "Eyes Only Bandit" struck these banks:
- PNC Bank, 300 North Arendell Avenue, Zebulon, North Carolina, December 16, 2013
- PNC Bank, 102 East Branch Street, Spring Hope, North Carolina, January 10, 2014
- First Citizens Bank, 101 North Main Street, Franklinton, North Carolina, February 26, 2014
- First Citizens Bank, 101 North Main Street, Franklinton, North Carolina, March 13, 2014
The bandit is slight of build, 5'8-5'10.
As dramatic as cases like these are, bank robberies in North Carolina are actually on the decline. According to the North Carolina Bankers Association, 91 bank robberies were committed in the state from January 1st thru November 30th, a 43-percent decrease in robberies from 2009.
Terry Huskey is the chairman of the North Carolina Bankers Associations Security Committee. He says there are a number of reasons for the decline.
Bank personnel are now required to undergo annual training on how to deal with a potential bank robbery. Huskey says the comprehensive training is critical, "in terms of how to react to a bank robbery in terms of conduct before and after a robbery."
"Today we have entered the digital world and so instantaneously you are able to go to photographic images, get those to law enforcement and just within a matter of seconds literally a patrol officer responding to a robbery can actually receive on their mobile device a photograph of the actual suspect."
Often, robbers leave with a small amount of cash, Huskey says. "One of the things we practice throughout the industry is proper cash control ... And when the robber comes in they don't want to be in the branch office for very long, so in comparison to the robbery in terms of other financial crimes, the reward or profit is very small considering the prosecution and the length of time a person can receive for bank robbery."
Huskey also credits the partnership between local law enforcement and the FBI but he cautions that these positive numbers may not last forever.