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FBI looking for serial bank bandit

LAWRENCEVILLE - The FBI is seeking a serial bank robber dubbed the "Snellville bandit," who has targeted banks in Snellville and Conyers over the past four months.

The suspect's latest heist occurred Sept. 20 at BB&T bank at 2405 Salem Road in Conyers. He ran into the bank around 4 p.m. carrying a black plastic bag in his left hand and a handgun in his right hand, said Special Agent Stephen Emmett of the FBI in Atlanta.

He yelled "FBI! FBI! Put your hands up!" Emmett said. He then demanded that several tellers fill his bag with money.

As the tellers were complying with his request, the robber told customers to keep their hands up and be quiet. He also told reportedly told customers "You're all right" and "You won't get hurt."

After the bandit ran out of the bank, a customer in the parking lot saw a dye pack explode inside the getaway car, a gray or silver Jeep Cherokee, Emmett said. The customer reportedly tried to follow the robber in his own vehicle, tailing him at speeds up to 75 mph.

The customer wisely broke off the chase after going over speed bumps in a residential neighborhood and nearing a school where several school buses were within sight, Emmett said.

Authorities believe the suspect is responsible for several other robberies - two at the BB&T Bank at 2230 Scenic Highway on May 25 and July 26 and two at the First Nations Bank at 3207 Salem Road in Conyers on June 15 and Aug. 4.

"Obviously he's got a comfort with those locations, and it's a very good possibility he lives in one of those two areas or has acquaintances in those areas," Emmett said.

In the July 26 robbery in Snellville, the man used a stolen sport utility vehicle that he carjacked the previous night in Stone Mountain from a mother and her 10-year-old child. That SUV was found abandoned the next day at a DeKalb County apartment complex, said Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead.

The suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.

"We want this guy A.S.A.P.," Emmett said. "He is not only demonstrating aggressive tendencies, but he is also being very careless with a firearm by pointing it and waving it around."

He is described as a tall black man in his mid-30s to early 40s, between 5 feet 11 and 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing about 210 to 250 pounds. He can be seen in a Sept. 20 surveillance video wearing a blue baseball cap with "FBI" on the front and a black cloth or bandanna covering his face. He also wears mirrored sunglasses and black gloves with writing on them.

The vehicle used in the latest robbery is a late '90s or early 2000 model Jeep Cherokee with a red pinstripe along the door below the handle and no spare tire on the back. The first three letters of the Georgia license plate are either AQK or QAK.

Anyone with information regarding his identity or whereabouts is asked to call the Atlanta office of the FBI at 404-679-9000.