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$50K reward for men who pulled big heist

The Arizona Republic

PHOENIX – The FBI on Sunday offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of three men who took two Chandler families hostage in a scheme to steal more than $400,000 from a Tempe bank in the state’s largest robbery of its kind.

The sophisticated heist worries federal and local police who fear the three men will repeat the crime.

“We anticipate after they blow through this $400,000 they will do it again,” said John Lewis, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Arizona.

The robbery took place Friday morning at a Wells Fargo bank in Tempe after three men held a Chandler couple, one of whom is a bank manager, in handcuffs for 24 hours at the family’s home starting Thursday night.

The men had held another couple and their young child hostage for about an hour at that family’s home the night before in a failed attempt to rob a Desert Schools Federal Credit Union.

The first plan was scrapped after the men realized they couldn’t pull off the robbery, Lewis said.

“The particular potential for violence was high,” he said at a news conference Sunday at FBI headquarters in Phoenix.

He called the men brazen and dangerous.

Chandler police Chief Sherry Kiyler, who attended the news conference, said police are worried about the safety of all the area’s residents but particularly bank employees.

Kiyler said the men would face kidnapping charges in addition to those for armed robbery if caught.

“We need to find these suspects and make sure they’re removed from our streets,” she said.

Tempe police Chief Tom Ryff said residents need to be aware of their surroundings because the men apparently stalked the victims, possibility following them after work to their homes.

The Arizona Republic

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