Captured: FBI says they've bagged 'Tour De Banks' bandit

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UPDATE:  A 29-year-old Bothell man arrested Friday is accused of being the 'Tour de Banks Robber,' the name the FBI dubbed a serial bank robber who made his escapes on a bicycle after his stickups.

The suspect, identified by his attorney as Cristian Babalai, is the owner of an adult care home in Bothell.  The six elderly residents of the Loving Adult Family Home on 46th Avenue Southeast may have to relocate if the facility has to close down.

The King County Sheriff's Office said Friday that the FBI and detectives from Bothell, Monroe, Arlington and Mill Creek police departments assisted in the arrest.

Neighbor Todd Rostalski called it a sign of the economic times that a seemingly well-to-do man had to turn to bank robbing to get by. Still, he questioned the alleged bank robber's decisions.

"Was his responsibility to those people in the family home important enough to him to break the law?" Rostalski asked.

Babalai appeared in King County Superior Court on Saturday and was held on probable cause in lieu of $800,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 16.

 

---ORIGINAL CASE 8/3/12---

 

When we heard earlier this month that a wanted serial bike-riding bank bandit told the teller it was going to be his last heist, we said, "Yeah, right... until he runs out of cash again."

Looks like he did, and now a tip from you can put $6,000 in your pocket if you help catch him.

The FBI's dubbed him the "Tour de Banks Robber."

King County detectives think he's hit now hit at least seven banks so far in Woodinville, Bothell, and now Monroe.

His routine is riding up on a bike fully disguised in black, quickly running in and robbing the place, then pedaling away. But Det. Mike Mellis thinks his final getaway has changed from two wheels to four.

“We don’t believe he rides home on his bicycle. We suspect he probably has some type of vehicle parked nearby that he can ride to quickly, then drive out of the area in a vehicle. I believe that he hasn’t been doing this in a vacuum. I believe that somebody –- a friend, a relative –- knows or notices certain things about this guy. The fact he doesn’t have cash one day, but does the next, or maybe something’s going wrong in his life one day that’s seemingly solved the next day by sudden cash," Mellis said.

Det. Mellis also had it right when he said he didn't believe the guy, when he told a teller in his prior hit earlier this month that he was 'sorry' and this was his 'last robbery'. "I don’t believe it until I see i. Bank robbery is a serial crime, and when the guy’s as comfortable doing what he’s doing, there’s really no reason for him to stop. If he needs cash, this is what he’s doing, and he’s proven that," he said.

Here are the details on the 'BIKE-RIDING BIKE BANDIT' (a.k.a: 'Tour de Banks Robber')

  • White
  • Age: 25-35
  • Ht: 5'6" to 5'10
  • Wt: 140-180 lbs

In each hit, the robber wears a black full-face ski mask and covers the rest of his appearance with gloves, a dark baseball cap or hoodie, and a dark long-sleeve sweatshirt or zip-up. In most incidents, the suspect leaves the scene riding a bicycle. During the robberies, the individual has been armed with a handgun or a knife.

He’s well-disguised. Some clues he didn't cover up though, is that he's likely left-handed, and seems to have a type of European accent.

The Tour de Banks Robber is wanted for his alleged involvement in at least seven armed bank robberies:

•     January 30, 2012 – Key Bank, Bothell

•     May 2, 2012 – Key Bank, Woodinville

•     June 26, 2012 – Union Bank, Woodinville

•     July 5, 2012 – Key Bank, Bothell

•     July 6, 2012 – Bank of America, Woodinville

•     July 23, 2012 – US Bank, Bothell

•     July 30, 2012 – Washington Federal, Monroe

The FBI, who has dubbed this guy "The Tour de Banks Robber," has started working on the case and is offering a $5,000 reward. You can contact the following agencies if you have any information:

King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311

Bothell Police Department at 425-486-1254

Monroe Police Department at 360-863-4600

Or, contact Crime Stoppers at  800-222-TIPS (Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward)

Click here for information on how to text a tip to Crime Stoppers.

 

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