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Feds: Tips led to capture of ‘North Center Bandit’

Surveillance photo of the "North Center Bandit," who is suspected of robbing five banks before his capture. | FBI photo

A bank robber dubbed the “North Center Bandit” was captured after he was identified by tipsters, according to the FBI.

Greg Zuercher, 37, of Chicago faces one federal count of bank robbery, according to a complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

Zuercher was charged with robbing a Chase Bank branch at 5352 N. Elston Ave. about 6 p.m. June 8, according to the complaint.

The suspect walked up to a teller and handed them an envelope, which had the message “give me the money or I start hurting people. I have a weapon,” written on it, according to the complaint.

The teller dropped the envelope on the floor and got out about $1,000 in cash, put it in the envelope and slid it back to the suspect, who walked out of the bank with the money, according to the FBI.

The surveillance photo of the suspect and his modus operandi matched the “North Center Bandit,” who robbed four North Side banks in 2015, including:

  • Oct. 20 at a Chase Bank branch at 3335 N. Ashland;
  • Sept. 25 at a Chase Bank branch at 3339 W. Belmont;
  • Aug. 27 at a Chase Bank branch at 3335 N. Ashland; and
  • Aug. 21 at a PNC Bank branch at 4201 N. Lincoln.

The FBI issued a statement with photos from the latest robbery and offered a $5,000 reward for information.

The release of the photos led to 13 tips identifying the suspect as Zuercher, according to the complaint.

On June 15, the teller from the most recent robbery was shown a photo lineup and identified Zuercher as the suspect. Tellers from two of the previous robberies also identified Zuercher in photo lineups.

On July 16, the FBI received a call on its tip line from someone who claimed to have known Zuercher for several years and believed he was the North Center Bandit, according to the complaint.

Zuercher had his initial court appearance Monday morning, according to the FBI.