(CBS4) — Face masks may be helping to flatten the pandemic curve, but they seem to also be providing cover for criminal activity.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation warned the public Friday after five bank robberies occurred in the metro area over the last 24 hours. In each, the offenders wore facial coverings.READ MORE: Cars Spun Out & Abandoned As Winter Storm Grips Denver Metro Area
By taking advantage of the cold weather and the preventive measures urged by health officials, bank robbers have made PPE a part of their M.O.
A Denver bank was robbed Thursday, then four others were held up Friday.
Late Thursday afternoon, the First Bank at 2740 South Colorado Boulevard was hit by two robbers working in tandem. They presented a threatening note to a teller and made off with an undisclosed amount of money.
The first suspect was a 6-foot tall white or Hispanic male wearing a construction vest over a black long sleeve shirt.
His companion, a slim, 5-foot-9 black male, was clothed in all black. His ensemble was accented with silver chain and pendant.
The rest of the robberies were carried out by solo actors.
Friday at 9:30 a.m., a white man in his early 30s walked into the First Bank at 2100 Broadway in Boulder and told the teller he had a bomb.
He was thought to be between 5-foot-8 and six feet tall with a slightly heavy build. He was wearing round, metal-rimmed glasses, a blue surgical mask, and a navy blue jacket with a gray torso and a red stripe along the top of the hood.
Less than half an hour later at 9:57 a.m., the FirstBank at 2155 West 136th Avenue in Broomfield had a white male in his mid-30s walk in.READ MORE: Businesses Near Convention Center Eager For Events: 'It's Our Livelihood'
He had had a stocky build, according to witnesses, and stood 5-foot-5 to 5-9 in height with long, dark brown hair and dark eyes. He was wearing a purple button-down shirt, dark grey jacket, dark grey pants, black neck gaiter and a black beanie hat.
A second Broomfield bank, the Key Bank at 88 Lamar Street, suffered the same fate 26 minutes later.
A white male in his 20s or 30s, with a thin build and a thin face, 5-fot-7 to 5-9 in height, walked in wearing blue jeans, a dark grey jacket, black dress shoes, a yellow and black plaid button-down shirt, a maroon knitted hat, a maroon neck gaiter, and maroon gloves.
The US Bank in Littleton, 8441 West Bowles Avenue, was next, 39 minutes later. This suspect also handed the teller a threatening note. He was a white male believed to be in his late 30s to late 40s, and 5-foot-1 to 5-3 tall with a medium build. He wore a black hooded jacket, blue pants, a beige fedora hat, and a blue surgical face mask. He was carrying a black drawstring backpack.
Authorities believe he may be the same suspect who robbed the Wells Fargo Bank at 7375 West 52nd Avenue in Arvada on Feb. 2nd.
The FBI told CBS4 it was seeing a recent increase in the frequency of robberies but the total number for the past year still match annual averages.
Bank robbery is punishable up to a 20-year prison sentence for each offense, and increases if a dangerous weapon is used in the commission of the crime.
Anyone with information on the bank robberies above, or any bank robbery, is ask to call the FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force at (303) 629-7171. Or, you can remain anonymous and earn up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) by calling Metro Denver Area Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).
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