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FBI pursues bank robbers in Tucson

Posted at 10:16 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-13 18:31:52-04

Bank robbery -- it's a crime the FBI says won't yield a lot of money, and will almost always end up with the person behind bars. Yet people across the nation and here in Tucson still seem to commit the crime.

"If you rob a bank, you're going to get caught in Tucson," FBI Special Agent Jason Fick said.

Right now, there are 4 unsolved bank robberies that the FBI is working on alongside the Pima County Sheriff's Department, Tucson Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies in Tucson -- and are asking the public's help in finding the suspects. Surveillance video from a robbery at a Hughes Federal Credit Union on the northwest side shows a man running into the bank, hopping the counter, demanding money from tellers, and running out the back door. 

Special Agent Fick explained a verbal demand, as seen in that incident, is a common method people use while robbing banks. He noted the methods haven't really changed over the years.

"Note jobs or note demands, or verbal demands," he said. "Sometimes you'll have a violent takeover, and sometimes you have a burglary where there's nobody else involved except the robber themselves."

He noted the majority in Tucson are, "either verbal demands or note jobs."

The Special Agent works in the violent crimes division, and explained bank robberies actually fall under his jurisdiction and are classified as violent crimes. 

"You never really know whether or not they have a gun or some kind of weapon on them, so there's always potential," Fick said. "Even though there may not be any kind of violence, there's an emotional violence that occurs."

Emotional violence on both the tellers and bystanders in the bank. He advised bystanders do their best to stay calm, and urged them to pay close attention to what the person is doing, their mannerisms, and what they look like.

"Comply with any kinds of demands they have," he said. "After that, the best thing is to be a good witness."

With new technology and social media, the Special Agent explained the FBI is able to get out surveillance video and photos of suspects quickly to large numbers of people -- a new advantage in solving cases. 

"The more eyes that are able to take a look at a subject, a look at what they're doing," he said. "Take a look at their clothing, maybe see something that's unique to them."

Financially, he said it's not going to yield much money from the crime.

"You'd be surprised," Fick said. "It's less than a mortgage payment. You're not going to get rich robbing banks."