Drastic Rise In Bank Robberies

By Tony Shin
|  Wednesday, Aug 18, 2010  |  Updated 7:31 AM PDT
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In 2010, the city has seen 102 bank robberies compared to 66 in 2009 in the same time span, according to local <a title=FBI agents." />

In 2010, the city has seen 102 bank robberies compared to 66 in 2009 in the same time span, according to local FBI agents.

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When a man walked into a Chase Bank in Scripps Ranch on Monday and robbed a teller, it marked a dubious number for the San Diego FBI.

"This year we've had 102 bank robberies compared to 66 bank robberies in 2009 at the same time,"said San Diego FBI spokesperson Darrell Foxworth.

In fact, 102 is the same number the local FBI office investigated all of last year in San Diego County and Imperial County.

Agents blame the spike on serial robbers like the so-called Geezer Bandit who has struck 11 banks in San Diego, and also the suspect called the Ho Hum Bandit who has hit 15 banks.

"You've got three or four people responsible for anywhere from 40 to 50 bank robberies," Foxworth said.

According to former federal prosecutor John Kirby bank robbers usually have one thing in common - desperation.

"They've gotten themselves into some horrific debt because of drugs or typically some other illegal activity or maybe gambling and they see this as the only way they can make up for it," Kirby said.

Kirby also said the risk is not worth the reward because most robbers only get away with a small amount of cash.

If they're caught, they could spend years in prison.  "If you had no aggravating factors and no criminal record, you'd still be looking at three years to start," Kirby told NBCSanDiego.

In 2008, the local FBI office investigated 167 bank robberies.  Agents believe that number could be topped this year if the serial robbers aren't caught soon. 

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