Feds: 'Grandpa Bandit' robs 4 NW banks


by Eric Adams / KGW


Posted on December 11, 2009 at 10:31 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Another bandit is on the loose in Northwest Oregon, this one suspected in bank robberies from Sherwood to West Linn.

An older white man dubbed "Grandpa Bandit" was suspected of robbing three Bank of America branches and a Key Bank branch. Oregon's bankers have offered a $5,000 reward for information leading this his arrest and conviction.

FBI Agent Beth Anne Steele said Grandpa's most recent heist took place in West Linn on Thursday, around 3 p.m., at a Willamette Drive Bank of America branch. The suspect did not show a weapon but witnesses told the bureau he implied that he was armed.

Grandpa was believed to have threatened to kill tellers in other robberies, though, according to investigators.

Two bank robberies in Salem during October and a Dec. 2 heist at a Sherwood BofA branch also may have been perpetrated by the Grandpa Bandit.

Witnesses have described the suspect as average height and weight, standing between 5'8" and 5'10" tall and possibly weighting 160 to 180 pounds. He has grey hair and light-colored eyes.

Grandpa has worn a zip-up hoodie with prescription eyeglasses on his face and sunglasses propped upon his head, witnesses told the FBI.

The Oregon Financial Institutions Security Task Force - or FIST - has offered rewards for the arrests of other men recently suspected of serial bank robbery. After FIST offers the reward, the FBI has given the suspects a nickname to assist in apprehending the suspected criminals.

The River Rat Bandit was wanted for four months after FIST first offered a reward in his arrest. Authorities finally tracked him down outside Tacoma, Wash. in September after he'd robbed banks across NE Portland, Vancouver and possibly even Seattle, according to FBI reports.

More recently, the Fantasia Bandit - so nicknamed for allegedly robbing the Fantasy for Adults store on W. Broadway, was apprehended within days of his nicknaming. However, he'd moved from adult book stores to bank and credit union robberies, and ultimately led Portland Police on a midday chase down the Banfield before he was apprehended.

Information can be provided to the Portland FBI office 24 hours a day by calling (503)224-4181. The Salem office, opened during normal business hours, can be reached at (503)362-6601.