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Anatomy of a bank robbery

KSAT Crimefighters investigate digital age of bank robberies


SAN ANTONIO – The days of the old-fashioned bank robberies -- where gun-wielding bandits would storm in, announce themselves, then take off with bags of cash -- are long gone.

The digital age of online banking and ATMs has brought about a much simpler approach.

"There is still a typical bank robbery, where someone comes in with a gun and threatens the teller, but that doesn't happen in San Antonio much," said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Osvaldo Alaniz.

At times, Alaniz said it's as simple as handing a bank teller a note and walking out with the money before anyone even notices.

"Sometimes bank robberies have to do with drugs, gangs or drug- trafficking. Sometimes there's a serial bank robbery and sometimes it can just be someone that does it once," said Alaniz.

The state of Texas ranks among the top three in the country for bank robberies. Alaniz says it has to do with demographics and population.

"Anytime there's a bank robbery, there's a note they fill out that gives the specifics of the robbery that helps them identify trends," he said.

Statistics on bank robberies paint an interesting picture:

  • 5,014 banks were robbed around the country. That's more then 13 per day.
  • Of the 6,000 robbers, about 7 percent of them were women.
  • A total of $38 million was stolen. A little more than $8 million recovered.

In the Alamo City, the numbers have decreased since the '90s.

"People shouldn't be concerned about going into a bank. There's still a need for going in because there are transactions that can't be made through a phone," said Alaniz.

Banks are still very secure places, but FBI investigators say you can make a difference by simply paying attention to what's happening around you.

"People should be aware of surroundings because they could help prevent something," Alaniz said.

For a look at the FBI crime stats from 2011, click here.