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‘Leaping Bandit’ foils local law enforcement

Knox County Sheriff’s Office and FBI are jointly investigating the July 30 robbery of SunTrust bank in Farragut.

The suspect, thought to be the same suspect who has robbed two other banks in Farragut, is known for his MO of leaping over the teller counter and stuffing money into a bag.

“He enters the bank very, very quickly, literally at a running pace when he hits the doors. He then immediately approaches the teller counter and jumps over one of the first one or two positions, retrieves the money from the teller drawers and then runs back out.

“It’s very, very quick,” said FBI agent Michael MacLean.

The suspect is careful to cover himself well: usually dressing in black pants, a black jacket and a black ski mask. He is thought to be a white male between 5-foot-7-inches and 5-foot-9-inches tall and weighing 180-to-190 pounds.

“Well, when reports come in, it’s very difficult for witnesses [to determine height] depending on your vantage point. You have witnesses sitting on the other side of the bank and [who] just see him run in.

“So most of the time, they are guessing between a parameter,” MacLean said.

The leaping bandit has robbed two other banks in the 11000 block of Kingston Pike since May. His first known robbery was at BB&T on May 2, followed by Community South Bank May 13 and BB&T again June 20.

The suspect entered SunTrust Wednesday afternoon at 4:10 p.m., running into the bank, leaping over the counter and stuffing cash from the teller’s drawer into a sack.

He didn’t display a weapon.

Each time, the suspect has run into the branch, jumped over the counter and stashed money from the cashiers’ drawers into a bag.

He then escapes into a getaway car, which has been different at each robbery.

May 2, the suspect escaped into a 2000-2005 model copper Chrysler 300. The second and third getaway cars were a 2000-2003 gray 700 series BMW and a 2000-2002 white Toyota Solara, respectively.

Wednesday, July 30, the suspect drove off in a 2000-2002 model white Oldsmobile Alero. The license plate was covered with a dark tint.

“We do physically place him in each of these vehicles, so we do believe he is in fact utilizing a different vehicle each time,” MacLean said.

The FBI has not had much luck discovering what direction the suspect comes from or goes to. Witnesses have reported that he heads down Concord Road, Northshore Drive or Kingston Pike, but these are general directions and a specific route is unknown.

MacLean said none of the vehicles the suspect has used appear to be stolen; instead, they are probably vehicles belonging to unwitting


“We have checked our stolen car reports in and around the time of the robbery, and we do not believe they are stolen vehicles,” MacLean said.

“He’s probably going around to someone and borrowing a car here and there, utilizing it in a robbery without the person realizing it,” he added.

This crime spree is currently the only unsolved robbery for the FBI in Knox County, and the FBI is offering a reward for information regarding the leaping


“We’ve found that the reason we have such a high solution rate for bank robberies in the Knoxville area is because we have the support of media that gets the word out … and that leads to help by the public,” MacLean said.

“We definitely want the public’s help: this guy’s committed four robberies and isn’t leaving behind much evidence,” he added.

“Anything that the community can do to stop someone like that would certainly be good, but our main concern is the safety of everyone.

“We wouldn’t want anyone to do anything that would put themselves or others in jeopardy,” said Kathy Wentworth SunTrust marketing manager.

To submit information, call the FBI at 865-544-0751 or KCSO at 865-215-2243.


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