FBI arrests “Back Again Bandit” accused of robbing Maricopa credit union

Back Again Arrested horizontal SIZED
The FBI has arrested 44-year-old Richard Zumbro, dubbed the "Back Again Bandit" in connection with 23 bank robberies over the past year. Zumbro is suspected of robbing the Desert Financial Credit Union inside Fry's Marketplace Aug. 14. {FBI photo]

The suspect accused of robbing the Desert Financial Credit Union inside Fry’s Marketplace Aug. 14, dubbed the “Back Again Bandit,” by the FBI, has been arrested and charged.

On Monday, the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, with assistance from Phoenix Police arrested Richard Zumbro, 44, without incident following a bank robbery at the U.S. Bank branch at 1855 N. Power Road in Mesa. Zumbro is believed to have committed 23 bank robberies, including the one in Maricopa.

According to Rob Scherer, an officer with the task force, Zumbro had come onto the FBI’s radar prior to his last robbery on Monday.

“He had been identified as an investigative lead,” Scherer said. “Just like what happens in most of these types of cases, we did exhaustive research and excluded a variety of other potential suspects before we landed on him. He was one of those who was not excluded, and he committed another robbery and was apprehended shortly after the robbery, within the hour.”

Scherer said Zumbro was arrested at a gas station on 7th Avenue, just south of Interstate 17, without incident.

In August, Zumbro is accused of walking away from the Desert Financial robbery with $5,000 in cash after handing the teller a note reading: “THIS IS A ROBBERY! PLEASE DON’T MAKE IT A MURDER! QUICKLY AND QUIETLY GIVE ME ALL THE MONEY. HURRY! !”

Scherer said those notes constituted a violent threat even though he never brandished a weapon during any of the robberies.

“I believe that even though he didn’t have a gun he’s still a violent criminal,” Sherer said. “The victims were threatened and told that he did have a gun, and they have to deal with the emotional fallout from that.”

Sherer said Zumbro was prolific, robbing 23 banks in less than 11 months, all but one of them taking place in Arizona. Scherer said it was the most he’s seen in his career.

“I’ve been in this world for 15 plus years,” he said. “I’ve had cases where the person had more than 23 robberies, but not all were bank robberies. We’ve had other series with more crimes, but in in my history, there’s more bank robberies attributed to him than any other suspect we’ve ever had. Others have taken more money, and some have committed their crimes over a longer span of time, but this is the most in terms of number of bank robberies.”

Scherer said the specific penalties Zumbro will face are yet to be determined by the U.S. Attorney. He said that he’ll have an interesting story to tell his fellow inmates should he be convicted.

“Sometimes that kind of thing matters,” he said. “Bank robberies are glorified through movies and television, and sometimes that is a factor as to why the people are committing these bank robberies.”