A man the Chicago FBI has nicknamed the “Bully Bandit” struck in Riverside on the afternoon of May 2, robbing Bank of America at 3300 Harlem Ave. and making off with an undisclosed amount of cash.
According to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, the man loudly announced the robbery to a bank teller, pulled out a revolver and told the employee to “give him all the money or he’d start shooting.” There were numerous customers inside the bank at the time of the robbery, Weitzel said. No one was hurt during the incident, which lasted less than two minutes.
Police said the man entered the bank wearing a mask that covered half of his face. He was described as Hispanic, about 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8 with a medium build and wearing a dark or gray hooded sweatshirt. He has a mustache and thick eyebrows, according to a description provided by the FBI.
Surveillance camera images from the bank convinced the FBI that the offender is a man they’ve dubbed the Bully Bandit. According to the FBI’s bandit tracker website, the man is responsible for 11 other bank robberies since late November 2012 in Chicago and in Berwyn. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $17,500 for information leading to his capture.
The teller gave the man cash, and the gunman left the bank through the East Burlington Street exit door.
The first squad car arrived at the bank 1 minute, 36 seconds after the initial alarm sounded, said Weitzel, but the offender had already fled the scene. A Berwyn K-9 unit followed the trail that led a block west to about Delaplaine Road, where the scent was lost. At this time, it is unknown whether the man fled on foot or in a vehicle and in which direction.
Riverside police are processing the scene in conjunction with the FBI, which is also looking at surveillance camera footage. Weitzel said police are also attempting to get surveillance video from nearby businesses on East Burlington Street and Harlem Avenue.
Police locked down the bank in the aftermath of the robbery and are interviewing customers and employees. The bank branch remains closed at this time.
The same bank was last robbed in December 2008, when two men brandishing handguns made off with cash. The robbery was not solved, but the bank put in place security measures after that incident, including installing protective teller windows and hiring a security guard, according Weitzel. He said a security guard was not on the scene at the time of the robbery, Thursday afternoon.
Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call the police department at 708-447-2127 or the Chicago FBI at 312-421-6700.