Reporting Amelia Santaniello
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Local police and federal agents are on the hunt for the robber nicknamed the “Man in Black.” He’s a bank robber whose M.O. has been dressing in black clothing head to toe while holding up at least six Twin Cities banks at gunpoint.
FBI agents call the man beneath the head-to-toe black clothing controlling, deliberate and potentially dangerous. The robberies have been in Richfield, Bloomington, Minneapolis and Hopkins. In each, he went directly to the teller line, flashed a gun, demanded cash and then quickly left.
FBI agent Kyle Loven said for now, it appears he’s using the gun to take control of the bank and its customers.
“Anyone that would show a gun and threaten bank customers and employees, it’s hard to speculate what they may or may not do,” said Loven.
It was during the most recent robbery in Hopkins Monday where something changed. The robber wore a tan jacket.
“In some instances, their M.O. is so deliberate and thorough, it becomes routine,” said Loven. “Typically, they want to get into that repetitive pattern, that routine, so the act of robbery becomes familiar.”
Loven says it’s not unusual for criminals to create a pattern as this serial robber has, and establishing a pattern puts the robber in a new mindset. Serial robberies are rare and often fueled by things like gambling or drug problems.
The last time a serial bank robber plagued metro banks was 2005. John Whitrock earned the name the “Fishing Hat Bandit” until he was arrested and convicted of 21 robberies.
Whitrock claimed a gambling problem fueled his sprees. He is currently serving a 15 year prison sentence.
Investigators say there’s no clear pattern in the Man in Black’s targets. The times and locations have varied.
Few witnesses have reported seeing how the Man in Black gets away. The FBI says in all three cases, he was seen driving off in a white or cream colored vehicle. It’s not clear if it’s a car or SUV though.