|MBA Bank Robber Gets Third Degree|
|Rachel Katz||Mar 2, 2013, 6:36 AM|
Police have charged Philadelphia resident Tarik Hooks with robbing nine banks in recent weeks. (FBI)
Tarik Hooks would appear to be an outstanding citizen. He has an MBA from Strayer University, works at a mental health rehab center and was a key witness who helped solve the shooting of a New York police officer several years ago.
But the FBI and Philadelphia police are saying that Hooks is the brazen bank robber who held up as many as 10 banks over the past month, without bothering to hide his identity.
Hooks, 35, of Philadelphia, was taken into custody on Feb. 22 by Philadelphia cops and the FBI on a car theft charge, Public Affairs Specialist Carrie Adamowski said. That car theft eventually led to his arrest for the bank jobs, officials said.
Hooks is facing federal charges for nine counts of bank robbery. A tenth alleged bank robbery was in Wilmington, Del., and charges have yet to be formally filed against Hooks, the FBI said.
According to a criminal complaint, Hooks first robbed a Citizens Bank on Feb. 2, 2013, in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. He continued to rob five more banks in the Philadelphia area and made three failed attempts to rob others, the complaint states. The bank robber's face is clearly visible on bank surveillance cameras during the heists.
After a bank in Drexel Hill, Pa., was robbed on Feb. 21, Hooks was linked to a stolen black Lexus, the criminal complaint said. Police discovered the stolen vehicle three blocks away from the bank.
Hooks' own vehicle, a white Lexus, was discovered in the parking lot where the black Lexus was stolen from, police said.
After police impounded both Lexus vehicles, a warrant was issued for Hooks' arrest and he was taken into custody on Feb. 22 on a count of auto theft.
During the Drexel Hill bank robbery, the thief finally made an attempt to conceal his identity by wearing a wig.
The criminal report states that Hooks handed bank tellers a note stating, "This is a robbery. No bait. No dye. All money."
Hooks is accused of stealing more than $23,000 in the nine bank robberies and was charged with bank robbery while in jail on the car theft charge.
Hooks' LinkedIn profile states he is a budgets and contracts manager at Horizon House, Inc., a non-profit rehabilitation center for people struggling with addiction, homelessness and other psychological problems.
A woman who answered the phone at Horizon House said only "no comment" when contacted by ABCNews.com today.
Hooks is also linked as a key witness in the 2010 case of the shooting of a Syracuse police officer and was said to be extremely helpful in assisting police with the investigation, according Uticaod.com.
Hooks made an initial appearance in court before a magistrate judge on Thursday.
He is being held at the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center and is awaiting a detention hearing on March 4, 2013, where the judge will decide on bail or continued detention.