Reward for 'Backpack Bandit' goes up $10K - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Reward for 'Backpack Bandit' goes up $10K

"Backpack Bandit" "Backpack Bandit"
"Backpack Bandit" "Backpack Bandit"
Maj. Richard Robinson Maj. Richard Robinson
FBI Special Agent Tom Simon FBI Special Agent Tom Simon

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Police and the FBI are teaming up to catch a dangerous serial bank robber they've named the 'Backpack Bandit' and they're offering more cash to catch him before he strikes again.

It's been a tough year for banks on Oahu.  There have been 23 bank robberies this year compared with 16 all last year.  All of the suspects from 2009 have been caught, however eight robbers from this year are still on the loose and the Backpack Bandit is responsible for four of them.

From his first robbery in March to his last one in November the Backpack Bandit has changed his appearance going from clean shaven to a mustache and goatee.  He's also worn what appears to be a wig in two of the robberies. And in each case he has the backpack, sunglasses, a hat and most importantly a gun.

"Bank robberies in Hawaii normally consist of someone walking up and just producing a note and making a demand. In this case he's brandishing a firearm, he's going to multiple tellers, it's a level of violence we're not accustomed to here in Hawaii," said Maj. Richard Robinson, Honolulu Police Department.

He's hit four times this year.  First at the Hawaii Federal Credit Union at 1244 Kaumualii Street in Kalihi on March 31.  Then he robbed the American Saving Bank at 1851 North King Street on May 26.  And this Bank of Hawaii branch at 94-661 Kupuohi Street in the Royal Kunia Shopping Center he robbed on September 1 and November 26.

In each case cameras caught his image, but authorities haven't caught the man.

"We are hoping that someone out there likes the idea of getting $10,000 for Christmas more than they like being friends with the Backpack Bandit," said Tom Simon, FBI Special Agent.

The suspect is especially worrisome because he keeps his finger on the trigger of the gun at all times and could be one twitch away from tragedy.

"In the case of the Backpack Bandit, one pregnant teller had to be rushed to the hospital due to the stress of being terrorized by the robber.  So more than the potential $10,000 reward, I'd ask you to think about that bank teller.  Think about the innocent people at the bank.  Then think about the people in your lives, your friends, your family members. Then I'd like you to take a look at the pictures of the Backpack Bandit and call CrimeStoppers if you know who he is  before someone gets hurt or killed," said Special Agent Simon.

The man is Asian or Pacific Islander, in his 30's.  He stands between 5'4 and 5'6 and weighs 180 to 200 pounds.  If you know who he is call CrimeStoppers at 808-955-8300.

Police did arrest one man they thought was the robber, but he was cleared and is no longer a suspect.

If you help catch him you could get the $10,000 FBI reward along with the $1,000 CrimeStoppers reward.

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