The FBI offered a $50,000 reward Tuesday for help capturing what it called a group of highly organized armed bank robbers who have stolen about $500,000 from five banks in Connecticut since 2010.
Federal authorities said for the first time publicly that they believe the robberies were committed by the same group of men wearing gloves, hoods and dark masks. The robbers are in and out quickly, and don't talk inside the bank, with each knowing his own role, said Special Agent Daniel Curtin, an FBI spokesman, who said "in all likelihood" it's the same group committing the robberies.
"It's a total takeover of the bank," Curtin said. "They're not concerned with how many people are in there. They have people who go for the money and people who handle tellers and the customers."
The robbers have used trash can from the banks and what appear to be mini-duffel bags to take the money, Curtin said. None of the money has been recovered and authorities have little description of the robbers other than to say one is stocky.
"They're not leaving any evidence behind," Curtin said.
No one has been injured in the robberies. The reward is for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the robbers.
"We need to get these guys before someone is hurt," Curtin said. "The hope is this will act as a deterrent."
The five banks that were robbed are each also offering rewards of up to $10,000. The robberies have occurred in Fairfield, Orange, Southbury, Cromwell and Wallingford.
A white Cadillac Deville, model year 2000 to 2002, was seen in the area of a Webster Bank robbery in Cromwell and is of interest to the investigation.
The robbers apparently check out the banks ahead of time because they know who the branch manager is and where the cash vault is, said Frank Teti, president of the Connecticut Bankers Reward Association, which is offering a $4,000 reward.
The robberies took place on Sept. 24, 2010, at Fairfield County Bank in Fairfield; Dec. 28, 2010, at the former New Alliance Bank in Orange; April 20, 2011, at Naugatuck Savings Bank in Southbury; Oct. 7, 2011, at Webster Bank in Cromwell; and April 19, 2012, at Connex Credit Union in Wallingford.
Anyone with information on the robberies is asked to call the FBI at (203) 777-6311.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.