AUSTIN, Texas - Austin police have responded to seven bank robberies in the last month.
The suspect descriptions in four of those cases have a striking similarity. Police said they are investigating whether there is a serial bank robber or multiple bandits.
The latest bank robbery happened Wednesday morning at Chase Bank on Guadalupe Street. The suspect is described as a white man in his 40s with a thin build, but it's what he was wearing that caught the attention of investigators.
“A male suspect entered the bank, demanded the money, and left the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash,” said Austin police officer Destiny Silva.
The first in the rash of bank robberies happened on September 26. Police were called to Compass Bank on West Sixth Street around 2:30 in the afternoon. Detectives said the suspect was described as a white man, about 5'6", in his 40s, wearing a surgical mask.
“These are violent offenses. They can involve weapons, they can involve threats, they involve somebody who is willing to walk into a bank and demand money and rob a place, a business, during the day, which is very bold,” Silva said.
Two weeks after that, at the same bank, there was another robbery. This time it was about 10:30 a.m. when police got the call. Again the suspect was described as a white man wearing a surgical mask.
“We have had similar descriptions in other bank robberies,” said Silva.
Tuesday, officers responded to yet another bank robbery, this time at the Wells Fargo on South Pleasant Valley Road at 3:45 p.m. Police said a man, with almost the exact same suspect description, walked inside and demanded cash.
Now, back to the latest case at Chase Bank.
“This male suspect is described as a white male, approximately 40 years of age, thin build, he was wearing a blue shirt, dark pants, a black backpack and had a mask covering his face,” Silva said.
Not just any mask, according to police, this was also a surgical mask. That makes four bank robberies in one month with a suspect who seems to have a similar m.o.
“This investigation is early on, but, if there's any type of link, our detectives are working through that right now. We can't confirm one at this point and time, but we're not closing the door on any options,” said Silva.
The FBI said if a link is established, they will help handle the investigation.
Luckily, so far, police said no one has been injured in these robberies. They warn customers to keep an eye out.
“If you find yourself inside a bank, or you feel uncomfortable, see something suspicious, get to a safe location and call 9-1-1 immediately,” Silva said.
The other three bank robberies involved suspects with different descriptions.
Austin police is asking anyone with more information about any of these crimes or possible suspects to give them a call.