PITTSBURGH - The FBI Pittsburgh said it is seeing a spike in bank robberies over the last four months and it believes a nationwide issue is partially to blame.
Agents say there have been 28 bank robberies in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia since October, compared to 39 in the 2018 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018.
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"Within the last six months, we've had several cases where individuals are working together in more than just an 'I'm going to drive you to the bank' capacity," FBI Special Agent Glen Galeone said.
NEW INFO: @FBIPittsburgh has seen a sharp increase in bank robberies, with 28 in the last four months compared to 39 in all of FY 2018 (Oct-Sept). The FBI says the majority have been in Allegheny County— Aaron Martin (@WPXIAaronMartin) February 7, 2019
The FBI believes the opioid epidemic is at least partially to blame, with several suspects saying they were committing the crimes to feed an addiction.
"A lot of these subjects, once we talk with them and interview them we learn that they're drug users, habitual drug users. These robberies in a majority of instances, are being conducted to help feed that addiction," Galeone said.
The good news is that the FBI says its agents are solving more cases, because multiple robberies leave investigators with more of a trail.
"The first bank robbery we learn one thing about the subject's description, the second bank robbery we learn about the subject's vehicle. By the third one we put all of the pieces together and figure out who the actors are," galeone said.
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