Hat-happy thief at large

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John Dillinger has some stiff competition.

A note-passing bandit with a love of Kangol caps and bucket hats is creeping up on the famous bank robber’s record with upwards of 30 heists on his resume – 22 of which occurred in the borough over the last year and a half.

Police said that the thief, described as a 5’10” black male between 35 and 40 years old, usually walks into banks armed with a threatening note claiming he has a gun.

He reportedly threatens to shoot bank customers if the tellers don’t hand over the money from their cash drawers.

The thief, who is believed to be between 180 and 200 pounds, routinely changes up his facial hair. Bank surveillance cameras have snapped him up wearing a full beard, a mustache, and a goatee on different occasions.

He also likes to sport different hats, officials said. Sometimes he’s wearing fisherman’s hats. Other times he’s wearing a stylish Kangol hat.

At times he’s also seen with a black backpack slung over his shoulder.

Police estimate that the thief is responsible for 30 bank robberies between January 8, 2007 and July 31.

He’s reportedly quite good at his job, walking off with money 28 times, officials said.

Yet he’s not greedy, according to cops.

“It’s like he has a number in his head,” said a police source close to the case. “Once he reaches it, he stops. If he doesn’t, he robs another and another place until he meets that number.”

Besides Brooklyn, he’s robbed seven banks in Queens and one bank in Manhattan.

No injuries have been reported.

Neighborhoods the thief haunts in the borough include Sheepshead Bay, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, New Utrecht and Borough Park.

Just like most thieves, the suspect is a creature of habit.

Police sources said that the thief usually strikes during the last week of the month – leading police that he isn’t robbing the banks to fuel a drug problem.

“He’s very consistent,” the source said. “It’s like he’s robbing banks so he could pay his bills at the end of the month.”

Police are asking anyone with information regarding this thief’s whereabouts to come forward.

Tipsters, they said, could receive up to $2,000 for information leading to the man’s arrest and indictment.

Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers Hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

Updated 3:44 pm, October 19, 2011
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