Authorities are investigating if an alleged bank robber arrested Thursday afternoon in the Poconos is the man dubbed the "Silent Bandit" who is believed to have robbed at least a half dozen banks while barely saying a word.
The middle-aged man was caught around 12:15 p.m. Thursday after Mount Pocono Police say he robbed an East Stroudsburg Savings Association bank on Route 611. The Pocono Record snapped a photo of the arrest.
Sources told NBC10 Friday morning that the man arrested is Fawzi Atra, a permanent resident alien of the United States who is in his early 40s.
Atra is believed to be the "Silent Bandit," according to sources.
Friday afternoon NBC10 obtained a federal criminal complaint for Atra that states that he used "force, violence and intimidation" to steal about $1,500 from the ESSA bank. A search warrant, also obtained by NBC10, was issued for a gold Buick Century 4-door sedan with Pennsylvania tags that matches the description of the getaway vehicle in the recent robberies.
Atra appeared in court Friday and was detained ahead of a May 4 preliminary hearing, according to court officials.
Earlier Friday morning Mount Pocono Police would only say that "police and federal agents are in the process of linking the suspect to other robberies that have occurred in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Earlier this week the FBI released surveillance video of the man believed to be responsible for six bank robberies in the past two weeks.
He got the nickname the "Silent Bandit" because he does not talk but instead hands a threatening note to the teller, according to the FBI.
They say he's barely uttered a word during the heists.
"He responded to a teller who didn't realize it was a bank robbery who offered him a piece of candy and he said no, and that's been the only verbal commands he's given," said FBI spokesman Joe Bushner.
On Wednesday the "Silent Bandit" allegedly hit a PNC Bank in Flemington, N.J.
Other bank robberies occurred in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The FBI says they all happened at banks located inside grocery stores.
The other banks targeted include QNB Bank inside the Giant Grocery store in Quakertown, KNBT Bank inside the Giant in Bethlehem and PNC Bank inside several Shop Rites in Marlton, Hopewell, and Warminster.
The man allegedly showed a gun in several of the robberies that authorities say could be a revolver. The FBI said he should be considered armed and dangerous.
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