Wicker Park Bandit continues to elude authorities

Surveillance video of the so-called "Wicker Park Bandit" during a robbery

January 29, 2012 9:10:36 PM PST
When Elan Savit saw three police trucks parked outside her bank Saturday morning, she wondered if it had been robbed.

In fact, it had been. But what differentiates this from other bank robberies is that it constitutes the ninth holdup attributed to the same suspect in little more than two months. The FBI calls him the Wicker Park Bandit.

"I come here all the time," said Allen Osinski. "That's weird; you don't expect it to happen."

They don't expect it because Lane Tech High School is across the street and Area 3 police headquarters is only two blocks away, which shows how bold this robber has become. According to the FBI, the Wicker Park Bandit first hit on December 20 and despite his nickname, only four of the nine robberies have taken place in Wicker Park They are, however, all on the North Side, and include four Chase Banks and four North Community Banks.

"Nine banks?" asked Brian Pratt. "You've got to wonder what's going on with the investigation. I mean, apparently they have the picture of the guy and still no one can find him."

"It's a little scary," said Melissa Newman. "If they know what he looks like they should be able to get this guy."

The pictures are remarkably clear and show him entering different banks and then speaking with the teller. In Saturday's robbery. police say the suspect indicated he was armed. He fled after being handed an undisclosed amount of money.

"It's only a matter of someone tripping an alarm and then there could be a police standoff," Pratt said. "And you never know what could happen from there. You do kind of worry about public safety in a situation like that."

A reward is being offered for information that could lead to Wicker Park Bandit's whereabouts. Anyone who thinks they may recognize him is being asked to contact the FBI's Chicago office.