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FBI says it reels in Fishing Hat Bandit

/ Source: The Associated Press

The FBI said Monday it has caught the Fishing Hat Bandit, a bank robber who has committed nearly two dozen holdups in the Twin Cities over the past year and a half.

John Douglas Whitrock, 56, of Burnsville, was arrested on Friday after a robbery at a credit union in Edina.

“Based on the investigation to date, evidence has been developed that allegedly ties Mr. Whitrock to multiple bank and credit union robberies in the metropolitan area,” FBI spokesman Paul McCabe said. “We are confident that the suspect known as the ‘Fishing Hat Bandit’ is no longer a threat to the banking community.”

The Fishing Hat Bandit often wore floppy hats during his holdups.

So far, Whitrock is charged with only one holdup.

Public defender Andrea George did not immediately return a call for comment.

In the Edina case, the robber wore a jacket with the hood pulled up and a nylon over his face, and made off with $4,683, including several “bait” bills — currency from which the serial numbers were recorded beforehand.

The credit union’s president followed the man outside and watched him enter a garage, then called police. Police used a winch to drag a car out of the garage, and found Whitrock hiding inside the trunk with a stack of money, authorities said.

He was jailed for a bail hearing on Tuesday.

Whitrock was arrested in a maroon Chevy Lumina; a similar vehicle was tied to a Dec. 17 robbery by the Fishing Hat Bandit at a credit union in Northfield.