BY FBI PRESS OFFICE – On behalf of interim Special Agent in Charge Daphne Hearn, I want to welcome you all and thank you for coming to this press conference.  I am joined today by Major Richard Robinson of the Honolulu Police Department and Sergeant Kim Buffett from CrimeStoppers Honolulu.

We’re here today to announce that the FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the identification and arrest of a serial bank robber we’ve dubbed the “Backpack Bandit,” who is believed to be responsible for at least four separate bank robberies on Oahu this year.  This is a separate reward from the existing CrimeStoppers $1,000 previously offered.

In a minute, Major Robinson is going to provide more details about the Backpack Bandit, but first I wanted to give you some general background.  The Honolulu Police Department has a robbery detail comprised of detectives who investigate all bank robberies in the City and County of Honolulu.  Once arrests are made, the suspects generally face prosecution by the United States Attorneys office in the federal court system.

And Honolulu Police have had great success over the years with this approach.  As of today in 2010, there have been 23 bank robberies on Oahu.  8 of these remain unsolved – 4 of these we attribute to the Backpack Bandit.  To put those numbers in perspective, there were 16 bank robberies on Oahu in 2009 and all of them have been solved.

Serial bank robbers are extremely rare in Hawaii.

We should consider ourselves very lucky to live in a place with such a small amount of bank robberies.  We are also lucky to have a talented police force that can solve these cases at such a high rate.

The FBI is hoping that this publicity push and the $10,000 potential reward will generate some quality leads that will assist Honolulu Police in solving this string of bank robberies.

We are also hoping that someone out there likes the idea of getting $10,000 for Christmas more than they like being friends with the Backpack Bandit.

Finally, before I turn the podium over to Major Robinson, I want to touch upon one more thing.  It is often a challenge to get help from the public in these cases. And I believe that is because banks, as institutions, are not always very sympathetic crime victims.

If you are looking for sympathetic victims in this story, I’d like you to consider the employees and the legitimate customers in the bank when this level of violence is threatened.  In the case of the Backpack Bandit, one pregnant teller had to be rushed to the hospital due to the stress of being terrorized by the robber.

So, more than the potential $10,000 reward, I’d ask you to think about that bank teller.  Think about the innocent people at the bank.  Then think about the people in your lives.  Your friends.  Your family members.

Then I’d like you to take a look at the pictures of the Backpack Bandit and call CrimeStoppers if you know who he is  – before someone gets hurt or killed.

Submitted by the FBI Honolulu Division.

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