Zimbabwean man nabbed over 16 US bank heists

A Zimbabwean man living in Boston, United States of America, has spent more than eight months in jail after he was arrested on allegations of robbing 16 banks.

Albert Taderera (36), of Brighton, was believed to be the notorious “incognito bandit” who robbed 16 banks in the Boston area while wearing a dark hoodie, dark gloves, and a face mask or sunglasses. He carried out the robberies between February 2015 and March 2017.

Taderera, a technical engineer, who had travelled to the US on a student visa, was arrested in March after he tried to flee on a South Africa-bound flight. He allegedly held up a TD Bank on Boston Post Road in Wayland with a semi-automatic gun on October 7, and made off with about $8 142, according to a copy of the criminal complaint released by the FBI.

He was arrested in March at Dulles International Airport in Virginia as he tried to board an international flight. According to media reports, for two-and-a-half years, the “Incognito Bandit” remained one step ahead of the law as he single-handedly robbed the banks.

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The FBI were so desperate to catch him that in early March they increased the reward money for his capture from $10 000 to $20 000.The bank robber was dubbed the “Incognito Bandit” because of the disguise he wore during his crimes, which included a dark, hooded sweatshirt with gloves and a dark mask and sunglasses that covered his face. The bandit’s modus operandi was to approach the bank tellers and demand money while armed with a black semi-automatic handgun.

“All of the robberies occurred in suburban settings where banks were free-standing and featured adjacent wooded areas or foliage. In many of the robberies, eyewitnesses observed the robber leaving the bank following the robbery and entering the wooded areas,” read a statement from the FBI.

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The robber was also seen leaving in a black BMW, and it was the car, according to the FBI, that gave them the breakthrough they so desperately needed. According to an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent, who was part of a task team formed to apprehend the “Incognito Bandit”, police in the area where they suspected the robber would strike next were tasked to look out for a black BMW sedan.

On March 16, police spotted a vehicle matching the description of the get-away car in Concord, Massachusetts. The driver also fitted the physical profile of the “Incognito Bandit”. Police stopped the vehicle and found Taderera driving the car. It was discovered that the registration on the BMW had been revoked and police had the car towed and impounded. Taderera was allowed to go.