The Main Stream

Jan 15, 2013 12:55 AM by Lupita Murillo

Crime Trackers: busting bank robbers

TUCSON - There's a bank robbery every hour, according to the FBI. Tucson outpaces the national average for catching the culprits including the brothers responsible for one of Tucson's most violent bank robberies in history.

Tucson police detective Brad Hunt says there are two kinds of bank robberies the lone robber who hands over a note, and the most dangerous the "take downs".

That's why he says it's important to get security videos out to the public as soon as possible.

Detective Hunt has been investigating bank robberies going on 14 years. He says forensics, fingerprints and DNA help catch the suspects.

Last year Tucson police investigated 38 bank robberies they solved nearly 70 percent. The national average is 60 percent.

Detective Hunt credits the community for helping out. "We rely mostly on the citizens of Tucson to call us with tips."

The most challenging cases to solve, the " take downs." "This is where individuals come in waving weapons, they're masked, they've got hoodies up. "

Dawn Barkman was a teller during one of the area's most notorious and violent take-down bank robberies. The brothers Walter and Karl LaGrand marched into her bank in Marana in January 1982.

Barkman says "They were like animals inside the bank, I can't even explain how their behavior was it was terrifying."

The brothers tied up and gagged Barkman and Bank Manager Ken Hartsock.
When the LaGrand's couldn't open the vault, they began stabbing her boss and killed him. Then the LaGrand's came after her, " I was stabbed 14 times, and in head, my neck and my left torso area."

Barkman says this was a life-changing experience. The LaGrand brothers were executed in 1999.

There's a special website you can log onto where bank robbers pictures can be seen.

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