Crime

Bank robbery suspect dubbed ‘The Traveling Bandit’ arrested. He’ll face charges in Miami.

The FBI released images of a man who investigators say robbed a US Bank Branch in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, Jan. 8, 2019. On Jan. 24, 2019, the FBI identified the man as Jason Lee Robinson and said he was responsible for a total of seven robberies in six states.
The FBI released images of a man who investigators say robbed a US Bank Branch in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, Jan. 8, 2019. On Jan. 24, 2019, the FBI identified the man as Jason Lee Robinson and said he was responsible for a total of seven robberies in six states. FBI

A bank robbery suspect whose spree covered six states — including Florida — and earned him the nickname “The Traveling Bandit” got arrested in Colorado, the FBI announced Thursday.

Special Agents with the FBI’s Denver Field Office cuffed 49-year-old Jason Lee Robinson, of Kentucky, in Fruita, Colo., after getting tracking assistance from, among others, Robinson’s ex-wife.

Robinson, according to the criminal complaint, was on probation after doing time for a bank robbery conviction and was not allowed to leave Kentucky.

But investigators say he did.

His spree, according to the complaint, began just before 3:30 p.m. Dec. 28 in Aventura. That’s when Robinson walked into a Capital Bank branch at 20295 NE 29th Place and handed the teller a note implying he had a gun and demanding money, the FBI said. Robinson walked away with $1,900 in cash, but not before bank surveillance cameras — and cameras from nearby businesses — captured images of the alleged robber, an agent wrote in the complaint.

The FBI put out the images of the man who was wearing a black baseball cap with white lettering and a sweatshirt with the words, “Straight Outta Dallas.”

Then there were several other bank robberies in different states with the same description of the suspect, the agent said in the complaint.

Around 1 p.m. on Jan. 2 someone robbed a SunTrust Bank branch in Asheville, N.C. Two days later, at around 3 p.m., the Mountain Commerce Bank was hit in Johnson City, Tenn. Just before 1 p.m. Jan. 8, a US Bank branch in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., was robbed. TrustMark Bank in Prattville, Ala., was robbed just before 10 a.m Jan. 10. Then four days later, Fifth Third Bank in Mount Vernon, Ill., was robbed just before 5 p.m. The last robbery that agents believe Robinson was responsible for was at a Wells Fargo Bank in Price City, Utah, at 4 p.m. Jan. 17.

According to the criminal complaint, surveillance images from all the robberies seemed to match — including the same hat worn during each of the robberies.

A check with Johnson’s probation officer revealed that he had not been seen since Dec. 17, according to the complaint. When the probation officer showed up at his home Jan. 18, he was not there, the agent wrote. His family told investigators he was last seen Jan. 10.

Another clue, investigators say: His ex-wife called the tip line saying the photo shared by the FBI looks like Robinson.

It was not immediately clear when Robinson would make his first appearance before a judge.

Anyone with information that could help with the investigation is asked to call the FBI at 754-703-2000 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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