Police search for ‘Pleather Bandit,’ 3 others as bank robberies spike

TORONTO – Police are looking for “The Pleather Bandit,” “The Man in Black,” “The Boxcutter Bandit” and “The Mummy Bandit” – four men accused of carrying out 10 separate robberies stretching back to last October.

They’re not working together police said, but are together responsible for 10 of the 23 unsolved robberies in Toronto thus far in 2014.

Police said it’s difficult to profile bank robbers as they stretch the gamut of criminals, from repeat offenders to educated young people struggling to pay the bills.

“These individuals that we’re seeing here could be well-known to law enforcement in other jurisdictions or they could be somebody’s neighbour,” Toronto Police Staff Inspector Mike Earl said at a press conference Tuesday morning. “It could be your neighbour, it could be your relative, or it could be the worst possible offender.”

The Pleather Bandit hit a Bank of Montreal near King Street and Dufferin Street during the afternoon of March 11. He made a verbal demand for money and passed a note to the bank teller indicating that he had a gun while he placed his other hand within his jacket pocket.

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“We’ve nicknamed him that because we believe that the jacket may be in fact, an imitation,” Earl said.

Police said he made off with a quantity of cash. He’s described as male and between 40- and 50-years-old.

The Man in Black robbed a bank at Spadina Avenue and Adelaide Street on January 15. He echoed the actions of The Pleather Bandit, approaching the teller and passing them a note indicating he had a gun. He too made off with a quantity of cash.

The Boxcutter Bandit is responsible for three robberies at banks along Bloor Street West on three Wednesdays in March. He received his moniker because tellers described him holding a sharp object similar to a boxcutter.

Police describe him as between 35- and 40-years-old, roughly five foot nine inches tall and wearing a dark winter coat, scarf and toque.

The Mummy Bandit is responsible for the most unsolved robberies of the four. Police said his robberies stretch back to October 2013 and occurred in downtown Toronto and the fashion district. Security camera footage has filmed him walking into the banks with his face tightly wrapped in a scarf.

Police have “great concern” about this suspect because he’s produced either a knife or gun at each of his seven robberies.

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He’s believed to be between 20- and 30-years-old, between five foot six inches and five foot ten inches tall and walks with a “certain gait,” Earl said Tuesday.

Police said there’s been a marked spike in bank robberies so far in 2014 compared to the same time last year – 23 banks have been robbed.

The number of bank robberies has been falling in recent years across Canada, from 1,100 in 2000 to 525 in 2013.

The Canadian Bankers’ Association is offering an additional 50 per cent to the reward of any information given to Crime Stoppers that leads to a conviction.

“If you rob a bank, you will get caught. We will not give up in trying to make you accountable,” William Crate of the Candian Bankers’ Association said Tuesday. “We will not give up ever.”

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