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FBI: Suspects may be wig bandits

ATLANTA -- FBI officials hope three arrests in DeKalb this week will signal the end of a hairy string of armed bank robberies in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta.

Police arrested the three Atlanta residents after they allegedly knocked off a Chase Bank branch on Panola Road in Lithonia about 12:04 p.m. Monday and sped away. Their modus operandi fits that of a violent band of bank robbers who've worn shoulder-length wigs during takeover-style heists in the Atlanta area, officials said.

The suspects -- Yaharam Ben Yisrael, 30, Kelton Malik Huger, 38, and Lucius Oliver Service, 22 -- remain in federal custody. All were expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate in Atlanta on Tuesday.

"Clearly, the FBI is looking at these persons as possibly being the Wig Wearing Bandits or connected to them," said FBI Atlanta spokesman Stephen Emmett. "But this remains an active investigation, with additional charges likely."

In the latest heist, two suspects entered the Lithonia bank, ordered everyone to the floor and held guns to the heads of a bank teller and customer. They swiped a change machine, robbed a customer and fled with the third man in a black Cadillac stolen during a carjacking on Saturday, officials said.

When DeKalb police spotted them, the men ditched the vehicle at an apartment complex and fled on foot. Police located and arrested them after a brief chase, officials said.

The crew is also suspected of striking three Gwinnett banks and eight total banks in metro Atlanta.

Their most recent attempt in Gwinnett failed Thursday at another Chase branch on Tech Drive in Norcross. They failed to access the bank's money and fled in a stolen Kia Spectra, officials said.

Among their believed targets are two Wachovia branches on Holcomb Bridge Road in Norcross and Centerville Highway in Snellville, in addition to banks in Conyers, Covington and Decatur.