The Boston FBI is on the hunt for the most prolific serial bank robber in recent years, named the “PJ Bandit.”
The PJ Bandit, named for the puffy jacket he sometimes wears, started robbing Massachusetts banks in October, and since then, he’s been hitting them like clockwork, striking every four to eight days.
>>SEE A TIMELINE AND MAP OF THE ROBBERIES BELOW<<
The investigators on the Bank Robbery Task Force have never seen a guy like this, and they have a substantial reward offered for any information that helps catch him.
In every single surveillance picture, he looks just like anyone else, but this is not your average bank customer. This is a bank robber at work, and since October 29th, when he hit the RAH Federal Credit Union in Randolph, this guy has been on a roll.
So far he has hit 18 Massachusetts banks and one in New Hampshire.
“Since I’ve been here in October 2007, this person has conducted more armed robberies than anyone we've faced,” said Randy Jarvis of the Boston FBI.
EXCERPT FROM BOB WARD'S BLOG
"I don't think I've ever seen anything like the PJ Bandit. Whenever I cover a current story for NE Unsolved, I always run the risk of a new major development taking place before I can get my story on the air. While I was researching and shooting tonight's NE Unsolved on the PJ Bandit case, the PJ Bandit robbed TWO MORE BANKS!"
The PJ Bandit has hit mostly small banks and credit unions, in out-of-the-way places, and most of the robberies are note jobs. But in one of the robberies, the PJ Bandit showed a gun, and that's why the FBI considers him armed and dangerous.
He's hit banks and credit unions as far west as Greenfield, Gardner and Ayer. To the north, he hit a bank in Manchester, N.H., and in the Boston area, he’s hit banks in Brookline, Dorchester, Dedham and Newton.
“He's spread across the communities pretty good. In that respect, it's tough to tell where he's going to pop up next,” said Jarvis.
But in every robbery, the PJ Bandit does absolutely nothing to cover his face. He does not wear gloves, and he does not have an accent.
When investigators put all the surveillance pictures together, there is no doubt they are dealing with the same guy in every robbery.
“Most bank robbers will attempt to disguise their face in some form. When they do not disguise their face, it's generally an indication of desperation,” said Jarvis.
The PJ Bandit does change his wardrobe from time to time. Early on, the dark colored, puffy jacket seemed to be his favorite form of bank robbery attire, along with a baseball cap.
But on December 19th, the PJ bandit was dressed in a business suit, a light colored jacket, and a cap, when he robbed the Citizens Bank in Cambridge.
On February 9th, when he robbed the North Middlesex Savings Bank in Ayer, he wore a denim jacket.
One time, on November 18th, when the First Trade Credit Union in South Boston was hit, the PJ Bandit wore wire-rimmed glasses.
In all of the robberies, the FBI believes the PJ Bandit is working with an accomplice.
“We just know from bank robbery surveillance and video, and also from witness accounts, this person is operating with somebody else,” Jarvis said.
The search for the PJ Bandit is taking the Bank Robbery Task Force to some unconventional places. Clear Channel is donating the use of huge digital billboards in Stoneham and Lawrence, where thousands of people everyday catch a glimpse of the elusive bank robber.
Also, investigators are offering a big reward for information – $15,000 is being offered in this case.
“Out of 18 bank robberies, he's obtained more than $50,000 in bank proceeds,” said Jarvis. “A lot of money. And even more than that, in each of these cases is a victim teller, or in some cases more than one teller, that's at the business end of his bad work.”
The FBI really wants to get the PJ Bandit, and so does the Massachusetts Bankers Association. In fact, the MBA is kicking $5,000 into the reward offered in this case, on top of the $10,000 the FBI has on the table.
A tip identifying the PJ Bandit is worth the full $15,000.
If you have information, call the FBI’s Bank Robbery Task Force at 617-742-5533.
TIMELINE AND MAP OF THE 'PJ BANDIT' ROBBERIES
(Click map tab to see locations)