This past week saw aseries of headline-friendly bank robberies
in South Florida. Two of them involved bomb threats scribbled on notes, in which the offenders were arrested within minutes of the attempted robberies. The most recent, at the BankAtlantic branch on Fairway Drive in Deerfield Beach, was more dramatic, with two masked gunmen barging in with guns just after 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
A month before, on September 14, two robbers rode a motorcycle through the back entrance of a Chase Bank in West Palm, forcing patrons to drop to the floor and raiding the vault before they rode out the front entrance. And according to the FBI's news release: "After leaving the bank, they crashed into a truck and carjacked a woman at gunpoint. The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office later found the woman's abandoned car."
There's still a reward out for those involved in a fatal armored-car robbery in Miramar on October 1. Parking-lot surveillance footage shows one of the wanted suspects nearly getting run over by a white sedan. You can also get a reward for turning in the "Sundown Bandits," two armed black males who have hit six banks in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade.
So what gives? Is it the hot weather? The poor economy? Actually, things are just about normal. As the Sun-Sentinel article notes, there were 113 South Florida bank robberies in fiscal 2008, 83 in fiscal 2009, and 116 in fiscal 2010, which ended September 30.
Mike Leverock with the Miami FBI office says the cases this season are just more noticeable. "I think we've seen some out-of-the-ordinary, fairly dramatic robberies all in a row," he says.
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