A man in the Columbus area has been robbing banks wearing, in some instances, Ohio State apparel, law enforcement officials said at a Friday press conference. His actions and fashion choices have led to those officials giving him a nickname: the “Buckeye Bandit.”
At the press conference, the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Columbus Division of Police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office appealed to the public for assistance in finding the Buckeye Bandit.
The man has allegedly been involved in at least 20 Columbus-area bank robberies since 2013. According to to an FBI Cincinnati Division press release, the Buckeye Bandit is a suspect in robberies in Columbus, Gahanna, Worthington, Upper Arlington and at OSU. His latest robbery reportedly occurred Jan. 31 at Huntington Bank on Reed Road in Upper Arlington, as well as another robbery attempt the same day at the Wright-Patt Credit Union at 3134 N. High St.
He’s also thought to have robbed a Columbus pharmacy on three occasions.
“This bank robber is one of the most prolific bank robbers in central Ohio in the last decade,” said special agent Tom Gill of the FBI in Columbus. “It is important that we locate this individual before he commits another robbery.”
The Buckeye Bandit has been described as a black man, about 25 to 35 years old, 5 foot 11 to 6 feet tall and weighing between 180 and 200 pounds with an athletic build, according to the FBI press release. In some robberies, the release said, he’s worn a mustache, while in others, he’s worn OSU apparel or winter clothing, such as a scarf around his face.
In each bank robbery, the man seems to behave the same way. He “walks in the front door, main entrance of the bank, announces the robbery, walks up to one of the tellers, usually the closest to the door, and demands the money,” Gill said.
The man has shown a handgun during some robberies, the release said.
Gill added that the Buckeye Bandit’s message is the same every time: “‘Here’s the gun, get me the money.’”
Witnesses have seen the Buckeye Bandit running away after his robberies, but no one has reported seeing a get-away vehicle, according to officials.
“We are confident that someone in our community knows the identity of the Buckeye Bandit,” Gill said. “In most of these robberies he is not covering his face, simply wearing a ball cap. Someone has to know who he is.”
Anyone with information on the Buckeye Bandit is encouraged to call the Buckeye Bandit tip line at (614) 849-1896. The FBI has offered a reward of up to $5,000 and Crime Stoppers of Central Ohio is offering an additional $2,000.