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Suspected 'Scarecrow Bandits' in custody, FBI says

DALLAS -- Seven people who were arrested on federal bank robbery charges Monday are believed to be members of the gang called the "Scarecrow Bandits," police and FBI officials said during a joint news conference.

The afternoon briefing at FBI headquarters in Dallas followed a dramatic police chase Monday morning across several Dallas-area cities. The chase followed an attempted bank robbery in the Garland area.

Robert Casey, special agent in charge of the Dallas division, said agents and police officers thwarted the bank robbery, but he declined to give extensive details.

He asserted, however, that once more information becomes available, "the public will be impressed."

The Scarecrow Bandits, known to tote "assault-style" weapons, got their nicknames from the floppy hats and flannel shirts they've worn in more than 20 bank robberies in North Texas since last summer.

A $90,000 reward had been offered for information leading to their arrests and convictions.

"They were very good at what they did," Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle said at the news conference.

At least four people were arrested along the bandits' meandering escape route, which, according to an FBI spokesman, began from the "Garland-Richardson area" and concluded at a Costco near the intersection of Dallas North Tollway and Park Road in Plano.

It was unclear how police and agents caught the other three people. They declined to release their names or say where they were being held.

Casey would not say if the gang members had been under surveillance or describe any other evidence in the case.

"I'm going to let the criminal justice system work as it's supposed to work," Casey said.

Live video streamed by NBC5i.com showed one man dressed in dark street clothes being led away in handcuffs to a Dallas police patrol car. A man wearing a vest with "FBI" was shown conferring with patrol officers.

Business quickly resumed at the Costco after the suspect was led away and police and FBI agents began to leave.

Rachel Law of Plano said she entered the Costco after all the excitement.

She didn't know about all the earlier police activity and she thought it was strange that there weren't many customers in the store. When clerks told her what happened, she thought they were kidding.

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