Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sock Hat Bandit Caught

Brian Parnell. The alleged Sock Hat bandit. Via WCPO.
INDEPENDENCE, Ky. -- Police caught the "Sock Hat Bandit" after he robbed a Fifth Third Bank Thursday.

The robber, identified as Brian Parnell of Dayton, admitted to committing nine local bank robberies during an interview with the FBI, according to police records.

Parnell fled the scene down I-275 at more than 100 miles per hour, striking several cars on the highway. He crashed near an elementary school about six miles away in Covington and ran, but police quickly caught him, according to Capt. John Lonaker.

Lonaker declined to confirm that Parnell was the Sock Hat Bandit during a press conference due to the ongoing investigation, but Lt. Scott Paul told WCPO earlier that the man was the Sock Hat Bandit.

Lonaker said that the robber handed the teller a note, which is something the Sock Hat Bandit did in the other robberies, police said. Parnell was wearing a hat, but it wasn't the same hat as in the other burglaries, according to Lonaker.


Lonaker said that police, using a description from a previous bank robbery, located the vehicle in Thursday's robbery when it weaved at high speed through heavy traffic and ran red lights. Parnell was ramming other vehicles in an effort to get through traffic, according to Kenton County deputies. He then drove directly toward Deputy Jeremy Adams, who had attempted to take him into custody.
Adams fired three times at Parnell's vehicle.

The car appeared similar to the car believed to have been used by the Sock Hat Bandit. Parnell was not armed when he was caught, according to Lonaker.

“I don’t believe any force was used to apprehend him," Lonaker said. "I don’t believe he was tased.”

Parnell was charged with robbery in the first degree, wanton endangerment in the first degree, wanton endangerment of a police officer in the first degree and fleeing or evading police with a motor vehicle in the first degree, fleeing or evading police on foot in the first degree, operating on a suspended or revoked license and criminal mischief in the first degree.

The Sock Hat Bandit was wanted for nine other bank robberies in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. The FBI was offering a $5,000 reward for information on him and gave him the nickname based on a hat he wore during the robberies.

The bandit's apparent first robbery in the string was at a U.S. Bank in Hebron, Ky. May 22 . The next week, a man matching the same description robbed a U.S. Bank in Queensgate . He continued hitting banks over the next few weeks, prompting some officials to warn banks to press the alarm the moment they saw someone with a similar hat come through the door.

Parnell's car. Photo credit: Blake Brown.

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