Austin police arrest possible serial bank robber

Austin Police and the FBI’s Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force have been working to capture a man dubbed the “Surgical Bandit.” They believe he is responsible for a number of recent bank robberies in the Austin area. 

In each case, the bank robbery suspect is described as a white man, 5’6 to 5’8 in his 40’s wearing a surgical mask. There is at least one other recent case where the suspect's physical description fits, but instead of wearing a hospital mask, he used different hospital apparel, specifically, a blue hospital arm sling. 

Police say they arrested the suspect following a robbery at Horizon Bank on 6th and Congress in Downtown Austin. Police say the robber wore a surgical mask. Police responded to the robbery around 2:11 p.m. Friday. They say the man left the bank on foot, walking westbound on West Sixth Street. Police lost him on Colorado Street so they had officers on bicycles saturate the area. 

“[Officers] checked a local bus stop, Capital Metro bus stop, and they were able to locate the suspect and apprehended him,” said Sgt. David Daniels with the Austin Police Department. 

The bus stop is a few blocks from the bank on Guadalupe Street, said Daniels who praised officers' actions.

“I think the officers did a fabulous job thinking, just out of the box, and they knew that in previous bank robberies the suspect was possibly getting away,” he said. 

Daniels says police have not yet released the man’s name and was apprehensive to connect the suspect to other robberies this early in the department's investigation. 

“You have to interview the suspect and gather that evidence to make a good case,” he said. 

Daniels said right now, the department does not have an exact number of bank robberies the “Surgical Bandit” is suspected in, that is part of their investigation. But there have been a handful in the past month fitting the description. 

Daniels said no weapon was displayed in Friday's robbery but the man did say he had a weapon in his backpack. Daniels could not disclose how much money, if any, was taken. 

Daniels said police expect to release additional information on this case sometime next week.