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'Lunchtime Bandit' arrested in Johns Creek



Stephen_J._Bowen
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Stephen J. Bowen
December 09, 2009
JOHNS CREEK - The man suspected of robbing up to 10 banks throughout north metro Atlanta — dubbed the "Lunchtime Bandit" by the press for his habit of striking in the early afternoon — was arrested at a Johns Creek apartment complex Dec. 4.

Stephen J. Bowen, 35, of Cumming was arrested at 7:15 p.m. in a friend's Camden River apartment by the North Metro SWAT team, a joint operation of the Johns Creek, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs police departments, said Johns Creek police spokeswoman Rosemary Taylor. He is suspected of bank robberies in Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Roswell and northwest Atlanta near Cumberland Mall, she said.

FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett said Bowen's arrest is "clearly a multi-jurisdictional case," and that multiple warrants "are expected."

"The possibility certainly exists that we could take out federal warrants on him, but that is something that is still being looked at," he said.

Emmett said Bowen was allegedly a prodigious robber who worked quickly. Authorities are glad to have him behind bars, he said.

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This photo, taken Dec. 2 at the Bank of North Georgia on Powers Ferry Road in Marietta, features the man authorities believe is Bowen. (click for larger version)
"The arrest of this individual brings to an end a pretty active crime spree - 10 bank robberies in a short period of time," he said.

Joseph Hernandez is a spokesman for Cobb County police. He said Bowen is charged with three bank robberies in Cobb — a Wachovia on Riverwood Parkway in Atlanta on Nov. 13, a BB&T on Chastain Road in Kennesaw Nov. 19 and a Bank of North Georgia on Powers Ferry Road in Marietta Dec. 2.

According to Cobb County Jail records, Bowen is being held without bond, charged with three counts of robbery by intimidation. Both Roswell and Gwinnett County police have investigative holds on him, according to jail records.

Dunwoody Detective Kelly Gobley said her department is charging Bowen with two counts of robbery by intimidation for separate heists at the same Wachovia on Ashford Dunwoody Road Oct. 30 and Nov. 5. He is also being charged with one county of armed robbery for another heist Nov. 28 at the Fidelity Bank on Perimeter Center East.

In the weeks before his arrest, pictures of the man police believe was Bowen flooded local media. In them the suspect routinely dressed in similar clothing and followed the same routine.

"In reality, I'm sure [people have] seen the surveillance from every single place. There's no saying, 'It's not me," said Hernandez.

Taylor said Cobb County police contacted Johns Creek authorities Dec. 3 with information he might be in the city. Both agencies tracked him to the Camden River complex, which is off State Bridge Road, and the SWAT team executed a search warrant, said Taylor.

Bowen was arrested without incident, said Maj. Brian Weaver, the head of Johns Creek's Criminal investigations Division.

There was a $10,000 reward for Bowen's arrest. There is no word on whether it will be taken.

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