Michigan is setting a state record for bank robberies this year, in part because of serial thieves, the Detroit News reports. The Detroit FBI is searching for robbers with nicknames like the “Ziploc baggy bandit,” the “bandanna bandit,” the “stinky bandit” and the “hoax bandit.” In the first nine months of 2004, there have been 306 bank robberies in Michigan – 15 percent more than last year. There were only 97 Michigan bank robberies in 1984. Bank robbers “take awful big risks for only a little bit of money,” says FBI agent Terry Booth. The average bank robber gets away with less than $2,000 and about 70 percent of robberies are solved, Booth said. Although about three fourths of bank robberies are drug-related, a growing number of people – many without prior criminal records – are robbing banks to pay off debts like mounting casino losses or unpaid bills.
The “stinky bandit” is believed responsible for robbing at least seven banks; he got the nickname because of a strong body odor. Another robber has planted hoax bombs at drive-up windows at seven banks. Still at large is the “Ziploc baggy bandit” believed responsible for at least 13 suburban robberies this summer.