Last year was a banner year for bank robberies in Houston, more than doubling the number from the year before.
But last year's record has already tumbled, and we've still got a month to go.
Doing their best to help in that effort are the robbers who keep hitting the IBC branch bank at 3939 Montrose, near the University of St. Thomas.
They've been hit three times since September 1, FBI special agent Pat Villafranca tells Hair Balls.
It might just be location, she says; but there are steps to take to prevent robberies that banks are hesitant to take because branches end up looking "non-customer-friendly."
"There are banks that have a lovely atmosphere, nice furniture, blah blah blah," she says. "But they don't have 'teller glass,' they don't have a no-hats policy."
The FBI tries to push a " No hats, no hoods, no sunglasses" policy at banks, but it's been slow to catch on.
"Many banks are worried about offending their nice customer with sunglasses," Villafranca says.
She admits that "If a guy is coming in there with an AK-47, your little sign saying 'No hats' isn't going to stop him."
The latest incident happened last Wednesday at 9 a.m., when a black male, about 5-9, went up to the teller with a note saying "Give up the money and no one will get hurt."
There's a $5,000 reward out there from Crime Stoppers for the suspect, who is pictured alongside this item.
-- Richard Connelly
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