Police, agents nab suspected serial bank bandit
Feb 28, 2013 (The Philadelphia Inquirer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A Philadelphia man suspected as the serial bandit responsible for nine bank robberies this month has been caught, the FBI said today.
Tarik Hooks, of the 6100 block of Spruce Street, was arrested Friday and charged today with nine counts of bank robbery. An affidavit filed in federal district court says Hooks confessed to the robberies, and to a 10th, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Hooks, 35, was the most prolific and nettlesome robber during an unusual string of bank heists that unfolded in the region this year.
Between Feb. 2 and Feb. 21, the man donned a winter knit cap, goatee and glasses during nine holdup attempts in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery counties, including hitting one Roxborough branch twice. With a demand note but no apparent weapon, he collected more than $35,000, including $10,000 from a TD bank in Haverford on Feb. 12, court records show.
Identifying and catching Hooks turned out to be an exercise in cooperation among area police departments, according to the affidavit from FBI Special Agent John Deven Sermons, a member of the bureau's Violent Crimes Task Force.
After circulating surveillance photos from some of the robberies, an Aldan, Delaware County, police officer reported the suspect was seen fleeing a bank there in a white SUV, the affidavit says.
Then a Lansdowne police officer passed along an anonymous tip naming Hooks as the bandit behind the Feb. 8 holdup of a Wells Fargo branch there.
Police then began monitoring Hooks' apartment and saw a man matching his description leave the area in a white Lexus SUV. Investigators also identified the SUV as the one seen in surveillance footage related to theft of a car suspected in a Feb. 21 Garrett Hill bank robbery.
Philadelphia police obtained warrants last Thursday to search Hooks' SUV and the second stolen car. Inside the cars they found evidence including a hat and wig they believed he may have used in some of the attacks, the affidavit said.
Officers arrested Hooks Friday.
After a brief hearing Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Hey ordered him to remain jailed until a detention hearing next week.
Contact John P. Martin at 215-925-2649, at email@example.com or @JPMartinInky on Twitter.
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