Boonie Hat Bandit Caught After 12th Bank Robbery
Last Edited: Thursday, 18 Sep 2008, 10:59 PM CDT
Created: Thursday, 18 Sep 2008, 10:59 PM CDT
By Chris Regnier
FENTON, MO (KTVI-myFOXstl.com) --
He's been called a serial bank robber, but Thursday night, sources told FOX 2 the "Boonie Hat Bandit" had been arrested.
It happened after a Commerce Bank in Fenton was robbed a little before 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Seven minutes later, authorities had their suspect in custody.
The FBI did not speak on camera Thursday night, but we expect to learn more from them Friday.
The "Boonie Hat Bandit" had allegedly robbed 11 banks since last November before Thursday.
The bandit earned his name from the military “boonie” style hat he wore in the first two robberies.
Then he changed appearances, losing the hat and putting on a sports coat.
"This is a very prolific bank robber for the St. Louis area and is prolific even on a national scale," said Zach Lowe with the FBI after the last robbery the bandit was suspected in last month.
Sources tell us the Boonie Hat Bandit's luck ran out at the Commerce Bank on Old Smizer Mill Road in Fenton.
St. Louis County police say the suspect went into the bank wearing a brown sports jacket and made off with cash in a blue Mercury.
Law officers on the ground and in the air quickly spotted the car. It was pulled over at the commuter lot at Gravois and I-270.
The lone person inside the car was taken into custody and the money taken from the Commerce Bank was found in the car.
Jim Albenesius was coming to work when he saw cop cars speed away from the bank.
"I'm going right in front of the Commerce and about ten cop cars drove by me. And by the time I pulled in the parking lot and parked, probably another five or six had driven by," explained Albenesius.
Investigators say Commerce Bank officials identified the person in the car as the one robbed the bank.
Albeneisuis is thankful the bandit has been put to bed. "People at banks who work there don't have to be worried about him anymore. And also it's just nice knowing that we don't have another person like that out on the street," said Albenesius.
County police tell FOX 2 there will be a line up Friday with officials from the other banks that were robbed to see if they can identify the "Boonie Hat Bandit."
No one was hurt in Thursday's robbery and no weapon was displayed.