How “Average Joe Robber” Victimized A String Of Banks


Life is not easy for Dan Schwarberg, known as the “Average Joe Robber,” says the Cincinnati Enquirer. He finds it hard to trust people. He doesn’t like leaving the house. He thinks people look at him funny, but he isn’t sure if it’s just in his head or if they’ve figured out who he is. After serving 8½ years in state and federal prisons, the man once featured on “America’s Most Wanted” is trying to be normal once again. How normal can you be, he said, when you’ve led a very abnormal life? Schwarberg was infamous for robbing a string of banks along Interstate 75 in Ohio and Kentucky, taking at least $36,000. Frustrated FBI agents tracked him for 1½ years before finally catching him on his 18th robbery in 2000.

The 52-year-old man with glasses is unassuming. He is of average height and average weight. Schwarberg doesn’t make it high on the list of most dangerous robbers. He never carried a gun. Says a former FBI agent, “He wasn’t a run-of-the mill robber. Most people think of bank robbers as some kind of drugged-out derelict and he wasn’t like that,” he said. “He’s from a pretty good background, had a good job. He’s personable, well-spoken and seemed to be a very intelligent person.” Schwarberg said he began robbing banks out of desperation. He owed $20,000 in back taxes and had to pay about $800 a month in child support. His robberies were formula. He scouted out banks by the interstate and listened to police scanner traffic for days before he hit them. He had a checklist taped to his steering wheel that he followed closely.

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