Suspect arrested in 'Blues Bandit' serial bank robberies

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FBI and Phoenix police officials have arrested a man suspected to be the “Blues Bandit”—a serial bank robber who gained notoriety across the Valley for his tailored suit, fedora hat and square-framed glasses.

Juan A. Rivera Jr., 35, is held in connection with eight bank robberies throughout the Phoenix area between Oct. 3 and May 11.

Officials say the robber presented a demand note and threatened that he had a weapon during many of the robberies, but no one was injured during the incidents.

Six of the incidents targeted Desert Schools Federal Credit Union branches inside Walmart stores. The robber also struck a U.S. Bank inside an Albertsons in March and an Academy Bank inside Walmart in May.

Officials have not released any information about the amount of money stolen from the branches, but FBI Special Agent Ty Woods told The Republic in May “people would be shocked” if they knew the figure.

“It’s significantly less than you think it would be,” he said.

Rivera was arrested Thursday and has been charged in a criminal complaint in federal court, according to an FBI statement released Friday. Court records list eight counts of bank robbery.

The FBI statement credited Phoenix police officers for their “integral role” in the investigation.

“Phoenix Police Department officers spent countless hour analyzing and ultimately identifying the suspect vehicle,” the statement read. “They sifted through databases and records to identify the owner of the vehicle which ultimately led to the suspect being apprehended.”

The investigation was part of the FBI Bank Robbery Task Force, comprised of the Phoenix, Scottsdale and Mesa police departments, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.


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