Crime & Punishment
Considering the rash of violent news sweeping our country and state in recent months, it's almost understandable that local bank robberies haven't gotten as much attention. After all, banks are pretty common targets of crime.
But the so-called Mesh Mask Bandit is no ordinary criminal. The FBI suspects he's responsible for 19 recent armed bank robberies in Dallas-Fort Worth. The unsolved robberies date back to New Year's Eve 2012 and have occurred exactly four times in each month since then. He's on track to reach his four-robbery total in May as well, with a May 7 heist in Plano and one in Garland on May 15.
On May 2, when the Mesh Mask Bandit had only 17 notches on his armed-robbery belt, the FBI announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to a suspect's arrest and conviction.
An eye witness who saw the suspect without his signature mask told the FBI that he is a middle-aged Hispanic male, approximately 37 to 43 years old, and has a medium build on a 5-foot-7-inch to 6-foot-2-inch frame. He was seen getting into a dark blue Dodge Caravan during an April 29 robbery at Capital One Bank in Arlington.
The bandit seems to have a little preference for Dallas banks versus those in surrounding cities. He's targeted six banks in Dallas proper; three in Carrollton; and two each in Arlington, Garland and Grand Prairie. Banks in Addison, Farmers Branch, Lewisville and Plano have all been hit once.
Although the FBI says it's possible that the robber sustained chemical burns from dye packs in January and April, he's shown no sign of slowing down.
In the FBI's initial description of the Mesh Mask Bandit in February, the suspect's MO is described thusly:
In each instance, the armed man, wearing a tight black mesh mask, ran into the bank, approached the counter with a weapon drawn, verbally demanded cash, and ran away from the bank after receiving an undisclosed amount of money. No one has been physically harmed.
Anyone with information about the suspect or the robberies should call the Dallas FBI office at 972-559-5000 or North Texas Crime Stoppers at 1-877-373-8477.