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FBI seeking serial bank robbers

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

The FBI is asking for the public's help in identifying several suspects in a string of bank robberies committed in Clayton and Henry counties, and several other metro-Atlanta counties, in the past several months.

Two men are believed to be responsible for six bank robberies in Jonesboro, Riverdale, Forest Park and Morrow, while a single suspect is believed to have robbed six banks in Riverdale, Stockbridge, Fairburn, Conyers and Tucker, according to FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett.

Emmett said the agency does not believe that the pair of robbers is associated with the solo suspect.

He said that in the past month, the pair of robbers hit a Wachovia Bank on Ga. Highway 85 in Riverdale, a Chase Bank on Mt. Zion Road in Morrow, a Suntrust Bank on Forest Parkway in Forest Park, and RBC Centura Bank branches on Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro and Southlake Parkway in Morrow.

The FBI Atlanta Field Office released surveillance photos of the suspects Tuesday.

"They're becoming a real problem for law enforcement," said Emmett. "It's very important for us to get these individuals into custody before somebody gets hurt, including them."

The duo of robbers has entered banks wearing coats in all of the robberies except one, and wore baseball caps, Emmett said in a statement.

"The robbers presented the victim tellers with a demand note, never displaying an actual weapon," he said.

The two suspects are described as black males in their early to mid 20s. One of them wore a diamond earring and a gold wedding-style ring on his right index finger, according to Emmett.

The suspect seen operating alone is responsible for robberies at a Bank of America on Hudson Bridge Road in Stockbridge, and Wachovia bank branches on Ga. Highway 85 in Riverdale, North Henry Boulevard in Stockbridge, and in Fairburn, Conyers and Tucker, according to the FBI statement. Those robberies have all occurred since August, the FBI said.

The suspect entered banks mostly around the lunch hour, and presented the tellers with a demand note, which he "takes back as he verbally instructs the tellers to stay calm," Emmett said. He said the robber did not display a weapon.

The alleged robber is described as a black male in his mid 30s, possibly with a tattoo on the right, inside forearm, and possibly on the neck as well.

Emmett said the suspect wore something draped over his shoulders in each robbery. He said agents believe the purpose may be to hide a tattoo on his neck.

The solo robber also has a gold cap on a bottom tooth, and possibly fled the scene in either a teal-green Nissan Sentra with a Georgia license plate, or a white, four-door Kia or Nissan with "drive out plates," according to the FBI statement.

Emmett said the frequency of the bank robberies may indicate that the suspects are feeding drug habits, or are involved in drug activity.

"Somebody that's hitting these many banks, they're more likely to be talking about them [the robberies], and they're more likely to be spending their money," he said. "These individuals may be using the money to buy drugs. It's very important for people ... to be looking at these photos, and to be aware that these individuals -- by the fact that they're robbing so many banks -- may be known in drug circles of that area," Emmett said.

Anyone with information regarding the robberies was asked to contact the FBI Atlanta Field Office at (404) 679-9000.