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Hat bandit wanted for 8 bank robberies in Nassau, police say

Nassau County police released surveillance images on Friday,

Nassau County police released surveillance images on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, from eight bank robberies they believe one man is responsible for over the span of 2 1/2 months. Credit: NCPD

Some bank robbers settle on masks as a disguise. But one man donned wacky hats to pull off his heists in Nassau County.

Nassau police said they believe this man is responsible for committing eight bank robberies in 2 1/2 months.

Authorities Friday released photographs of the hat bandit taken from surveillance cameras at seven banks he robbed. One bank -- a Chase branch in West Hempstead -- was hit twice.

In one photograph, the suspect wore what resembled a safari hat -- much like the one used by the 1980s movie character Crocodile Dundee.

"It is a robbery pattern," said Det. Vincent Garcia, of the department's public information office. "One person is believed to have committed all."

It was not immediately clear what led police to believe the same person is responsible for all of the robberies.

The hat bandit joins the list of robbers over the years with memorable disguises -- including a blond-wigged man in a pink jumpsuit carrying an off-white handbag and one in a Darth Vader outfit.

The hat bandit's other disguises haven't been as elaborate.

They included a baseball cap with an image resembling President Barack Obama on the crown; a hat with a long, dark wig cascading down his back; and a fisherman's hat.

The suspect is in his late 30s to early 40s, between 5-foot-9 and 6 feet, with a medium build, police said.

Police said the hat bandit's pattern involves giving tellers a note threatening violence and demanding cash.

The suspect got away in a gray-colored car or two-tone brown sport utility vehicle, police said.

Most of the robberies were committed in the morning. Half of the banks robbed are Chase branches.

Police gave this account:

The man first robbed the West Hempstead Chase branch, 565 Hempstead Tpke., at 1:38 p.m. on May 5.

He robbed a second Chase, 400 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, on May 30 shortly before 10 a.m.

A third Chase, 2122 Merrick Ave., Merrick, was robbed June 9 at 10:20 a.m., police said.

The West Hempstead Chase was again robbed June 25 at 10:45 a.m.

A Bethpage Chase, 4276 Hempstead Tpke., was robbed July 2 at 11:40 a.m. and a Merrick Capital One Bank, 2192 Merrick Rd., was robbed July 11 at 10:09 a.m., police said.

Police said the suspect robbed another Chase, 334 Main St., Farmingdale, on July 18 at 11:05 a.m. and on July 23, a Bank of America, 792 Atlantic Ave., Baldwin Harbor, at 11:14 a.m.

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