FBI investigating spike in bank robberies in Northern Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) - There is an alarming spike in bank robberies across Northern Virginia. Those crimes come as the number of bank robberies nationwide is on the decline.

The suspects appear to come from a variety of backgrounds and wear a variety of disguises.

“We’ve seen everything from hoodies to baseball hats to just looking down,” says Special Agent Michael McGarrity. “We’ve seen the uptick in late December, early January, in Northern Virginia.”

The question of why activity has increased is hard to answer.

“Lost job, wages, maybe other criminal activity to pay for a drug habit,” McGarrity says.

The reason for a quick response is clear, McGarrity says: more cameras and technology getting information quickly to local law enforcement and the FBI.

“The ability to put a phone onto a smart phone and pass it to another agent in the field is priceless," says McGarrity.

Since Dec. 1, 13 bank robberies have taken place in Northern Virginia, a notable increase for a six-week period. The most recent happened last week at a BB&T on Chain Bridge Road in Oakton.

Nationally, bank robberies are down by 2,000 since 2009, and the arrest or clearance rate stands at 65 percent and is growing all the time.

“The odds are stacked against you. You’re gonna get caught," McGarrity says.