'Mesh Mask Bandit' suspected in Plano bank robbery, 18th since Dec. 31

'Mesh Mask Bandit' suspected in Plano bank robbery, 18th since Dec. 31

Credit: Plano Police Department

Surveillance footage captured from a Chase bank in Plano on May 7, which was robbed by the Mesh Mask Bandit.

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by MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 8 at 4:19 PM

Less than a week ago, the FBI offered $20,000 to anyone who could help catch the Mesh Mask Bandit, a prolific bank robber who, at that point, had robbed 17 banks since Dec. 31, 2012. 

On Tuesday, he hit another city in another county, making the Chase Bank in the 500 block of West Park Blvd. in Plano his 18th.  

"Now, with the addition of the Plano robbery on Tuesday, that makes nine different cities and four counties; we've added Collin County now. All of those are still in the Dallas territory," said Katherine Chaumont, public affairs specialist of the Dallas branch of the FBI. 

The FBI says the Mesh Mask Bandit is a Hispanic man with a "dark complexion" and is between 37 and 43 years old. Chaumont says there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason in the banks he chooses, although investigators are actively pursuing any possible links in his targets. 

Federal investigators say he suffered chemical burns from dye that exploded in his face after one of the robberies. 

The man suspected in the Plano robbery speaks with a "Hispanic accent," says David Tilley with the Plano Police Department. He was between 5'8'' and 5'10'' tall and weighed between 180 and 200 pounds.

He's been seen fleeing in a dark blue Dodge Caravan. Investigators did not get any tips regarding a getaway vehicle after the May 7 robbery, Chaumont said. 

Digital billboards bearing his likeness are still running on a "space available basis" throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Area.  

He's earned his nickname by the dark mesh mask that covers his face during the crimes. He's frequently gripped a gun, although Chaumont said he has yet to physically harm anyone. 

So far, he's robbed banks in Dallas, Garland, Carrollton, Addison, Grand Prairie, Lewisville, Farmers Branch, Arlington and now Plano. 

Since the $20,000 reward was issued on May 2, Chaumont said the bureau has been receiving tips. She wouldn't specify how many –– "the exact number of tips is sensitive," she said –– but urged anyone with information, no matter how small or large, to call it in. 

"We are receiving tips but that doesn't mean that we don't need to receive more," she said. 

This is the first time he's robbed a bank in May. Not counting his first robbery on Dec. 31 of last year, the suspect has robbed four banks each month. 

Anyone with information who can help investigators find him is urged to call the Dallas office of the FBI at 972-559-5000 or the North Texas Crime Stoppers tipline at 1-877-373-TIPS (8477).

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