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Search widens to Buffalo area in cold-case Rochester bank robbery and killing

The 13-year search for a bank robber who killed a man during a holdup of a credit union outside Rochester now focuses on Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

The FBI, as part of the expanded search, unveiled a billboard with digitally enhanced photos that it hopes will lead to new tips about the suspect’s whereabouts. The agency is also offering a $50,000 reward.

“Recently, we’ve developed information that the individual we’re interested in may be living in Buffalo or Niagara Falls and have significant ties to Rochester,” said Adam S. Cohen, special agent in charge of the FBI office in Buffalo.

The billboards and reward, announced Monday at a news conference in Rochester, are part of a renewed effort by the FBI to find the man who was wearing a dark blue nylon jacket with the letters “FBI” written in yellow on the back and on the sleeves when he entered the Xerox Federal Credit Union in Webster on Aug. 12, 2003.

The suspect was also wearing a bulletproof vest, a “United States Marshals Service”-style badge around his neck, dark-colored sunglasses and a poorly fitting Afro-style wig.

The FBI says the man, after encountering resistance from an employee, removed two firearms from a large briefcase and shot two customers, killing one and seriously wounding another. He fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

Cohen said the FBI, the State Police and Webster police have been following up every credible tip in the case and are hoping the billboards and reward will lead to even more information about the suspect.

“We’re hoping we’ll spark increased interest and leads about the individual we’re looking for,” Cohen said.

The FBI said the man is believed to be African-American, about 6 feet tall, with a medium build and weighing between 180 and 200 pounds. Authorities believe that he was 30 to 35 years old at the time of the robbery and is about 43 to 48 now.

The FBI is offering $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. Anyone with any information concerning this person, is asked to contact a local FBI office at 716-856-7800 or 800-CALL-FBI.

email: pfairbanks@buffnews.com