Police are searching for a serial bank robber whose spree has hit at least 10 banks to date, one of which ended in the death of a security guard.
On Wednesday, a Rishon Letzion court lifted a gag order on the investigation and revealed that the police believe that the robberies in question are all connected, Israeli media outlets reported. The order was lifted in response to a petition by news website Ynet.
The most recent robbery occurred last week, when a thief escaped with NIS 200,000 from a branch of Bank Mizrachi Tefachot in central Nes Tziona.
In August, 31 year-old Yaniv Engler, a security guard at the Bank Hapoalim branch in Be’er Yaakov was shot and killed while attempting to prevent the robbery at the branch.
The police have noted certain similarities between last week’s Nes Tziona robbery and the one in Be’er Yaakov in the summer, as well at least eight additional bank robberies committed in recent months. The most striking similarity is that in each instance, the suspect arrived and departed the bank on a motorcycle, thus inviting comparisons to Roni Leibowitz, who was convicted of robbing 21 banks in the Tel Aviv area in 1990.
Haaretz reports that the police are treating a recent robbery of a post office bank in Upper Nazareth, resulting in the death of 49 year-old David Mashivilli, as unrelated to the series of robberies, which have all occurred in the center of the country.