Robberies are way up in Fort Worth since the beginning of July, including a string of bank robberies the first week of August.
“There’s so much of this going on, it’s hard to keep your head wrapped around it,” said Sgt. Michael Decker of the Fort Worth Police Department’s robbery unit. “Robberies are up here in the last eight weeks considerably.”
The department took an estimated 150 robbery calls in July, which Decker said was about a 25 percent increase over a normal July. Just three were bank robberies.
From Aug. 2 to Aug. 5, though, six more bank robberies or attempted robberies were reported in Fort Worth. The department has already been called out to 38 robberies in the first eight days of the month.
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“We don’t tend to have a lot of bank robberies,” Decker said. “We had three in July, and we have six in August. It’s just, there’s a spree.”
Those numbers don’t include Tuesday morning’s break-in at the BBVA Compass Bank at 8875 Camp Bowie West. The bank was closed when three men tried to get into an ATM safe with a blowtorch shortly before 5 a.m., so there was no imminent threat to a person, which is a primary difference between a robbery and a burglary.
“Officers on the street, special units on the street are being directed toward this problem,” Decker said. “This is a high priority for the entire department right now. Yes, detectives are getting behind in investigations just due to the numbers.”
He said he didn’t want to speculate as to what was causing the sudden surge.
Police believe the same black male is involved in separate bank robberies Friday, at the Bank of Texas location at 5909 Camp Bowie Blvd., and Saturday, at a BBVA Compass Bank at 2016 W. Rosedale St. That suspect is believed to be in his 20s, between 5 feet, 9 inches and 6 feet tall with a slender build. Police believe he used a silver four-door vehicle, possibly a Hyundai Elantra, to get away from one of the robberies.
Police have identified a different black male suspect in the Thursday robbery of yet another BBVA Compass location, at 6801 S. Hulen St. No arrests have been made in any of the most recent bank robberies or burglaries.
Police say they believe a white male, in his 20s or 30s, could be involved in three other recent robberies: Wednesday at a Wells Fargo at 5322 Blue Mound Rd, then Saturday at both the Educational Employees Credit Union at 6049 S. Hulen St., and a Chase Bank branch at 4420 Golden Triangle Blvd.
“Golden Triangle and Blue Mound is the same guy,” Decker said. “Possibly the [Educational Employees Credit Union], but we’re not certain yet.”
Police are encouraging anyone with information about Tuesday’s attempted robbery to call the robbery unit at 817-392-4370 or Crime Stoppers at 817-469-8477.
“We’ve got leads that we’re following up on,” Decker said. “We’re confident in making arrests relatively soon.”