The FBI on Thursday unveiled a new website dedicated to getting bank robbery suspects off the street.
At bankrobbers.fbi.gov, you can see surveillance images of scores of bank robbers caught on camera, but not caught after their crimes.
"Bank robbery is a violent offense," says Tim Gallagher, Special-Agent-In-Charge of the Criminal Division of the FBI's Washington Field Office. "We have individuals who come into banks and threaten customers, threaten financial institution employees. They brandish weapons. These are dangerous individuals and we need to get them off the street."
The FBI calls them un-subs: unidentified subjects. They have posted online now surveillance images of bank robberies in progress broken down by state and date of crime.
Last fiscal year, bank robberies were at their lowest levels in 10 years in this area. Just 15 in the District of Columbia and 34 in northern Virginia.
"When you rob a bank, you will be caught on film probably in about three or four different poses," Gallagher says. "Sometimes we pick up surveillance footage from across the street. I had a bank robber once park his car in front of an ATM. The ATM was continually taking pictures and gave me a beautiful picture of his car, which I was able to show him when he was in handcuffs."
The images from the FBI's new website will also be displayed on 50 electronic billboards at Metro bus stops all across our region.
"I'm totally for it," says Denise Baker, waiting for a bus at 7th Street and Indiana Ave, NW. "I think anything they can do to help stop crime, and especially if they're violent offenders. I think (the FBI) should do everything they can."
"I actually do look at them," says bus rider Michael Humphrey. "I think it might help because I do notice the things that are on there.''
The FBI often gives un-subs nicknames to help them organize the crimes and capture the attention of the public.
Among the wanted suspects you'll see at bankrobbers.fbi.gov are The Nats Cap Guy, the Hole-In-The-Wall Bandit and the Sticker Bandit, who has robbed banks in D.C. and Clinton, Md., wearing a blue and red sticker on his left cheek.
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