‘Play-Along Bandit’ strikes again with 9th heist

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FBI officials say the “Play-Along Bandit” struck once again Wednesday morning at a Kenwood neighborhood bank on the South Side, his ninth suspected bank robbery in less than three months.

He walked into the BMO Harris Bank branch at 9:49 a.m. at 901 E. 47th St. and handed a teller a note demanding money, according to the FBI. He didn’t show a gun or imply he had one, and made off with an unspecified amount of cash, FBI officials said. No one was hurt.

Dubbed the “Play-Along Bandit” because of the way he tries to blend in and act like a regular bank customer as he enters and exits the banks, the suspected serial robber has even greeted security guards as he walked past them, according to the FBI. In several of the robberies, the bandit has brandished a handgun or implied he had one.

He is suspected in at least eight other robberies since last October, including:

—MB Financial Bank, 1542 W. 47th St. on Jan. 9;

—ABC Bank, 5645 W. Corcoran Pl. on Dec. 20;

—Harris Bank, 1620 W. 95th St. on Dec. 6;

—First Merit Bank, 1715 W. 47th, on Nov. 25;

—Citi Bank, 2000 W. 79th, on Nov. 14;

—Fifth Third Bank, 8140 S. Ashland, on Oct. 28; and

—ABC Bank, 9443 S. Ashland, on Oct. 18.

He is described as a black man with a goatee, between 25 and 30 years old, who is about 5-foot-8 and about 165 pounds, the FBI said.

The “Play-Along Bandit” has worn a variety of jackets during the robberies, one of which had a “distinct pattern” across the chest, according to the FBI. He has also worn a black knit skullcap with a small brim in front. In Wednesday’s heist he was wearing a black puffy vest, surveillance footage shows.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to his identification and arrest. Anyone with information should call the FBI at (312) 421-6700.

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