Police catch suspected 'motorcycle bandit 2'

Serial bank robbing suspect caught red-handed after bank robbery; alleged to have robbed at least a dozen banks.

December 5, 2012 22:41
1 minute read.
Arrest [illustrative].

Handcuffs arrest police crime illustrative 390. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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Police believe they have caught the serial bank robber nicknamed “Motorcycle Bandit 2,” who they say is responsible for at least a dozen bank robberies in central Israel over the past year.

The bank robber was caught around 6 p.m. on Wednesday after he walked into a Mizrahi-Tefahot branch in Ness Ziona, fired one round in the air and left with a bag of cash. As he was exiting the bank he was arrested at gunpoint by a group of detectives from the YAMAR investigative unit and an undercover Border Police unit.

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If the man is indeed the serial bank robber, the arrest would spell a successful end for police to an investigation code-named “golden egg,” devoted to finding the man who had become the No. 1 target of Central District Police over the past year.

In early September, a man was arrested on suspicion of being the serial bank robber, but police quickly turned their attentions elsewhere.

There have been several reports that the man arrested Wednesday is a former Border Police officer, but police have yet to confirm any details about the his identity.

In August police said they believed that a serial bank robber was on the loose, after a number of bank heists were carried out in close succession in the weeks and months prior.

In one of those robberies, security guard Yariv Engler was shot and killed while trying to stop the robbery.

Central District Police head Asst.-Ch. Bentzi Sau said Wednesday night that the arrest brought to an end to “the hunt for a suspect led by the Central District. This arrest tonight was based on field assessments and not intelligence, and we built a profile based on the criminal behavior of the suspect and through professional conduct we were able catch him.”

He added that at the moment, they would not divulge any details of the identity of the man arrested on Wednesday.

The last known serial bank robber in Israel was Rony Leibovitz, nicknamed the “Motorcycle Bandit.” In 1990, he robbed 21 banks on his motorcycle and became something of a national folk hero before he was apprehended and sent to prison, where he served eight years.

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