Chicago police have nabbed a bank robber they believe to be the Swine Flu bandit outside a South Loop bank. The robbery suspect wore a surgical mask during the robberies and, when suspicious bank employees asked about the mask, the man stated that he was recovering from Swine Flu.
After a series of nine successful robberies, Matthew Mahoney, age 28, was caught during what police and FBI believe was the planning stage for his tenth bank robbery. The Swine Flu bandit has been credited with knocking off four banks since last Thursday; in all he’s been linked to seven heists in Chicago, one in Oak Lawn, and another in Indiana.
Police and FBI closed in on him after FBI agents inside First American Bank noticed a man matching the Swine Flu bandit’s description outside the bank. The First American Bank (South Loop) was allegedly robbed by the same man in September although no official charges in that case have been filed.
Facts from the investigation led officials to believe that the robber would return to previously robbed banks, and their surveillance proved successful: They arrested the man–wearing the same clothes worn during previous heists–outside the bank. Confronted and arrested without incident, agents and police searched the man and found a handgun in one of his coat pockets. The criminal complaint charges Mahoney with a November 6 robbery of Chase Bank on south Dearborn that netted over $55,000, and facts from the investigation lead officials to believe that Mahoney is the same robber who carried off the eight additional robberies and are in the process of linking him to those crimes.
Mahoney is being held without bond and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the robbery charge. The successful capture was a joint effort by Chicago FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, Cook County Sheriff’s Office investigators, and Chicago Police Detectives.