With 6 metro bank robberies so far in April, recent uptick keeps local FBI busy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There have been six bank robberies so far this month, five in the past week alone, in the metro. That has the local FBI office investigating.

The slight uptick in bank robberies the metro has seen recently is definitely concerning, and it's keeping FBI agents very busy as they try to connect the dots to see if these crimes are related.

Just halfway through the month of April, an unsettling trend has emerged among some area banks.

"We have seen a significant number of bank robberies during the month of April," said Bridget Patton with the FBI. "We've actually had 5 bank robberies in the Kansas City greater metropolitan area."

On Tuesday morning, a sixth bank in the Northland was added to the list. Police surrounded First Federal Bank after a man in a sweatshirt and hat demanded money from a teller then got away.

"We always look at the bank robberies that occur to see if there's a nexus or a common link between those robberies," Patton said. "Are there similarities in the way the subject executed that bank robbery? Do they have the same physical description?"

Patton said it's still to early to tell if these latest robberies are connected, but in light of the recent spike it's good for everyone to be on the lookout.

"Be aware of the surroundings. Did you notice someone surveilling the bank or casing the bank?" she said.

Other local banks in the metro said this is an unfortunate reality in the banking business. They're constantly working to keep customers and tellers safe.

"Our first line of defense is great customer service," said Patrick Unrein, Lead Bank branch manager. "We think as long as you greet everybody as they walk through the door and make sure everyone knows that they`re being noticed, then that`s step one."

At Lead Bank in the Crossroads, branch managers said they frequently train staff to prepare for these types of emergencies.

"There are cameras; there are security buttons in place," Unrein said. "We've got certain lingo that we can use amongst ourselves to kind of alert other bankers."

In the three years Lead Bank has been open at the Crossroads location, branch managers said they've been relatively incident free and are working to keep it that way.

"If we let down our guard, then we could easily become victim if were not doing the things we have to," Unrein said.

Although six robberies is a lot reported in a short amount of time, overall the number isn't out of the ordinary. FBI leaders said they've investigated close to 20 so far since October, which is when the FBI's fiscal year begins.