Authorities release list of Houston's top ten bank robbery suspects
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- There's a crackdown on bank robbers in Houston. We're now getting a closer look at the Crime Stoppers Top 10 most wanted bank robbers.
They are the faces of fugitives, some in disguise, but all are wanted for robbing Houston-area banks.
"The potential for violence in these types of crimes is what makes them so significant," said Stephen L. Morris with the FBI.
The FBI, the Harris County Sheriff's Office and Houston Police Department were all present and pushed for leads at the Crime Stoppers headquarters on Wednesday.
Since January through August 31, 119 local banks have been hit, more so than in recent years.
"This is a spike that we don't like to see," Morris said.
At least two of the robberies were "take-over style." The suspects entered the bank, wielding pistols and subduing employees, before getting away with cash. Another duo dressed as a painting crew ordered everyone to the back, holding them at gunpoint before stealing cash from the vault.
"The sheriff's office has had two of our employees who have been on the winning end, thank goodness, of gun battles involving these particular thugs," Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said.
As law enforcement works to track the suspects down, after the robbery, some wonder if enough is being done at banks to deter robberies. As private companies, banks can't be forced to add armed security, which is an added expense. Local law enforcement says deterrents don't always need to be in the form of an armed guard.
"The cameras and the photographs, with your help in putting these guys in jail, it sends a huge message of prevention, that, 'you know what. Maybe it's time we earn an honest living,'" Garcia said.
Sentences for a convicted bank robber can range from 11 to 30 years.
You can see photos of the top ten most wanted bank robbery suspects here, or by clicking on the link under the 'Related Content' section above.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org that leads to the filing of felony charges or arrest of the suspect(s) in this case. Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.
crime tracker, erik barajas
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