Tattoos, an accent, SUV plates. FBI: Pikeville man left big clues as he hit 7 banks in 6 states
A Pikeville man who the FBI accused of robbing seven banks in six states in three weeks was apprehended Thursday in Colorado, according to the FBI.
Jason Lee Robinson, 49, was arrested without incident in Fruita, Colo., and charged in federal court with bank robbery in connection with a holdup at Capital Bank in Aventura, Fla., in December, the FBI said.
The bank robberies came a month after Robinson was on supervised release from prison, according to court records. He was supposed to be restricted from leaving Kentucky, but his most recent bank thefts took him throughout the country.
In the Florida heist, Robinson allegedly made off with $1,900, according to court records. Robinson allegedly talked with a bank employee during the robbery, who later told investigators that the robber had a “country” accent and had mentioned he was from Kentucky, according to the federal criminal complaint.
Robinson was dubbed ‘The Traveling Bandit’ based on the distances he allegedly traveled in between robberies. In addition to the Florida heist, he is also accused of robbing banks in Asheville, N.C.; Johnson City, Tenn.; Mount Juliet, Tenn.; Prattville, Ala.; Mount Vernon, Ill.; and Price Branch, Utah, according to the FBI.
The robberies didn’t occur in Robinson’s home state where he had previously been convicted of bank holdups.
The latest robberies happened between Dec. 28 and Jan. 17. He usually approached the bank counter and presented a note demanding money and threatening the bank teller with a weapon, the FBI said. No one was injured in the robberies, but Robinson was considered armed and dangerous.
Law enforcement agencies and FBI agents from Denver, Miami, Charlotte, Louisville and Mobile, Ala., assisted in Robinson’s capture.
Robinson drove a white SUV with Kentucky tags, the FBI stated.
He was first identified as a potential match when law enforcement reviewed recent federal prison inmate releases of males of similar physical description, according to an affidavit. Surveillance footage also recorded images of tattoos on his arms, which investigators said match those of Robinson’s, the criminal complaint states.
On Jan. 18, Robinson’s probation officer attempted a home visit with Robinson, but he was not home, court records show. His family indicated they last saw Robinson Jan. 10.
After the FBI sent a news release across the country seeking information about Robinson, who they were then calling ‘The Traveling Bandit,’ his ex-wife called the FBI tip line, according to court records. She stated the photographs in the news release were consistent with Robinson’s appearance, an affidavit states.
In 2009, Robinson pleaded guilty to robbing two banks in Eastern Kentucky. He admitted to robbing Community Trust Bank in Middlesboro of $3,313 on Aug. 11, 2008.
The next day, he robbed Community Trust Bank in Pikeville of $3,926, according to court records. He told authorities he stole from the banks to pay off his girlfriend’s drug debt, court records show.
He was ordered to spend five years in prison, according to court records.
By Mike Stunson and Morgan Eads