"Average Joe' robs 4th bank

Friday, September 25, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD -- The "average Joe bandit" has hit again.

Florence robbery The man who has been on a bank robbery spree since late February struck Wednesday morning at the First National Bank of Southwestern Ohio in Fairfield, FBI Agent Doug Warner said Thursday. It was the fourth known robbery since Feb. 26 for the man who always wears a ball cap. And it has sparked another plea from the FBI for public help to find him.

There are two new clues: a pack of red dye exploded, and a witness saw the man get into an older brown and bronze Isuzu truck. Agent Warner hopes the information will help: that perhaps a hospital treated the man for burns that the dye can cause, or someone's memory will be jogged by the truck description.

The agent went public with his plea for help last month, saying he was certain the man would rob another bank and that he wanted to prevent that. A $10,000 reward offered by twice-victimized Star Bank remains unclaimed.

Wednesday's robbery took place shortly after 10 a.m. in the bank on Gilmore Road. The dark-haired man followed his usual routine. He passed a computer-generated note to the clerk that asked for $3,000. Asking for a specific amount is unusual, Agent Warner said. The three previous robberies: Feb. 26, Star Bank in Crestview Hills; June 3, Huntington Bank in Florence; July 14, Star Bank in Florence.

Agent Warner said he thinks the man lives in Northern Kentucky, but that publicity about the three previous robberies drove him to commit his fourth elsewhere.

"He's decided to spread out a bit," he said. "But now we know what kind of car he drives, and he's definitely got red dye on him."

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