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Chicago Area Bank Robberies Nearly Double Over 2011

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A man dressed in a yellow poncho, black cap, surgical mask, and black surgical gloves tried to rob a Citibank on Michigan Avenue, by claiming he had a bomb, but he fled the bank without taking the money he demanded, and left the fake bomb behind. (Credit: Bandittrackerchicago.com)

A man dressed in a yellow poncho, black cap, surgical mask, and black surgical gloves tried to rob a Citibank on Michigan Avenue, by claiming he had a bomb, but he fled the bank without taking the money he demanded, and left the fake bomb behind. (Credit: Bandittrackerchicago.com)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Bank robbers had a busy year in 2012. The FBI said robbers have hit 218 banks in the Chicago area as of Dec. 31, compared to 115 in 2011.

“Close to double what we had in the prior year,” said FBI Special Agent Joan Hyde.

WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports, while people often look for a way to explain a spike in bank robberies, Hyde said it’s not often tied to a greater issue, like the economy.

“That just doesn’t play out. Typically the bank robbers are motivated by their need for money for a drug habit, or gambling debts,” she said.

Hyde explained there were a number of serial bank robbers this year, which helps bump up the number of bank robberies.

Once those suspects are captured, they lead to solving a number of other cases.

This year’s bank robbery total is the most since 2006, when there were 284 such heists in the Chicago area.

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