"We're here to shed light on a serious crime problem," FBI special agent Stephen Morris told a crowd of reporters. "We've responded to 119 reported bank robberies so far this year. Based on that pattern, we expect those numbers to increase."
"Harris County's celebrating 175 years, but the days of Bonnie and Clyde are lon g gone," said county sherrif Adrian Garcia. "Bank robbers are not welcome and not appreciated."
On display at a nearby table, a row of 10 cardboard posters detailed the city's most wanted, offering catchy crime novel-style titles for each incident. Personal favorites include "A Wig for Every Heist," "The Ten Gallon Hat Robbery," and "Fake Dreadlocks, Fake Accent." The suspects all walked away with sizable amounts of cash while not physically harming any of the victims. Click to see the full list.
"We know that an aggravated robbery is just a capital murder waiting to happen," said Crime Stoppers executive director Katherine Cabaniss, noting the highly-volatile nature of an armed bank heist. "If you're thinking about doing this kind of crime, you will be located and arrested . . . So don't do it."
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia doled out a harsh warning to the Top 10 and asked for the community's assistance in sharing information that could lead to arrests.
"Harris County's celebrating 175 years, but the days of Bonnie and Clyde are long gone. Bank robbers are not welcome and not appreciated . . . These robberies are dangerous and they put a lot of innocent people in harm's way . . . We need to get out in front of this and stem any increase in this type of crime."
Garcia thanked Houston Crime Stoppers, which is offering reward money up to $5,000, and praised the organization for helping to facilitate cooperation between city, county and federal law enforcement.
"It's their bait at the end of our hook that lures these thugs out of the darkness and gives us the information that allows us to put these individuals behind bars."
Martha Montalvo, executive assistant chief of the Houston Police Department, closed with advice for anyone caught on the wrong side of a bank robbery.
"If you are a victim and find yourself in this position, do as you're told to get out of there safely. But remember, you're going to be a witness so pay attention to the details of what's happening. All that information is going to help us in the long run."
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading ton the filing of felony charges or the arrest of the Top 10 robbers. Tipsters, who will remain anonymous, can contact the organization online or at 713-222-TIPS (8477).