A man known as the double hat bandit who is suspected of robbing 18 banks across the country was found in Whiteland, possibly drawn to the area because of residents he knows.
Shayne Carson, 54, was found Thursday at a Whiteland motel. How long he had been in the area or staying at the motel is unclear, but Federal Bureau of Investigation officials believe his ties to the area is friends or acquaintances who live here, said Sandra Barker, public affairs specialist for the Salt Lake City FBI office.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation had been investigating Carson as a serial bank robber. Carson is from New Mexico and has not been charged with any Indiana bank robberies.
He had been identified using surveillance images, a report of the suspect getting into a vehicle with a New Mexico license plate and images from Carson’s Facebook page.
What led FBI agents to tracking Carson to Whiteland was unclear. Investigators had earlier learned his cell phone number and been able to use records to see that he had been in the areas of three robberies in December and January. The FBI also had offered a $10,000 reward in late August for information leading to the conviction of the suspect. He is suspected of robbing banks, mostly inside grocery stores, between December and July. The spree reached at least seven states.
The suspect was dubbed the double hat bandit because he wore two hats during the robberies, typically a beanie over a baseball cap, according to a news release and accountings of the bank robberies across the country. In many of the robberies, the suspect handed the teller a note demanding money, or showed a gun in his waistband.
Salt Lake City FBI agents contacted the Indianapolis FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and Whiteland police on Thursday after learning that Carson may be in Whiteland. Police went to a Whiteland motel to watch for Carson, and arrested him in the parking lot. The Indianapolis task force interviewed Carson, and he told the agents he did commit some of the robberies, the news release said. The motel was also searched, the news release said.
He is facing a federal charge related to the Dec. 19 armed robbery of a bank in Utah, and the court documents name him as a suspect in 13 other bank robberies in Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Idaho. He also is now a suspect in more bank robberies in Colorado, Iowa and Ohio.
Carson appeared in federal court in Indiana last week and is expected to be moved to Utah.