Isle bank robberies high for January
Four robberies have taken place in the last three weeks
Friday's bank robbery -- by a man disguised in a purple floral print dress and a curly wig -- was the fourth in three weeks, a high number for this time of the year, authorities said.
"It's kind of unusual for this time of year," said Detective Michael Ogawa, of the Honolulu Police Department's robbery detail. "We're usually not this busy in January."
Typically, there are more bank robberies around the Christmas holidays, he said.
There were no bank robberies on Oahu in January of last year, but since Dec. 19 through Friday, seven banks have been robbed.
Police have arrested a suspect in one of the four January robberies, but suspects in the three other cases have not been found.
In Friday's robbery at the American Savings Bank at 1851 N. King St., a man passed a note demanding money from a teller at about 5:15 p.m.
The man, who was caught on surveillance tape, wore a curly white wig, a long-sleeved white shirt, a purple floral print dress, black pants, black shoes and a blue baseball cap.
He is described as in his 20s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a slim build.
Police said one man believed to be involved in two bank robberies has been arrested. Another man, who has not been identified, is suspected in three bank robberies, Ogawa said.
"A lot of them are drug-related, so they do what they got to do to get the money, regardless of the risk," Ogawa said.
Police have identified Tyler Lee, 22, as a suspect in two bank robberies. He was arrested Thursday on a warrant in an unrelated case and charged with two counts of bank robbery. Lee was identified through fingerprints, a robbery detective said.
Lee is suspected of robbing the Makiki branch of American Savings Bank on Dec. 29. He is also a suspect in the Jan. 5 robbery of the Makiki branch of Hawaii National Bank. The suspect in both cases was seen with a weapon tucked in the waistband of his jeans.
On Jan. 18, two robberies occurred within four minutes.
At 11:11 a.m. a man pointed a large black handgun at a teller at the Bank of Hawaii at 1451 S. King St. and demanded money.
He is described as between 30 and 40 years old, with a slim build and black shoulder-length hair, and was wearing dark glasses.
Four minutes later another man robbed the Central Pacific Bank at 1388 S. Beretania St.
He is described as a man in his 20s or 30s, about 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a slim build, dark hair, brown eyes and a tan complexion, wearing black-framed prescription glasses with clear lenses.
Bank robbery suspects face federal charges with stiffer penalties than penalties under state law in other types of robberies.