FAIRFAX - Investigators believe a man who robbed two Tulsa banks in the past week struck again in Osage County on Friday morning.
A man carrying a black briefcase walked into the Security State Bank in Fairfax shortly before 10 a.m. and handed the teller a note demanding money.
Osage County Deputy Chief Charlie Cartwright said the man implied he had a gun and "verbally threatened" to kill the employee.
The robber left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money. Cartwright said the method in which the robbery was carried out and the suspect's description leads investigators to believe they are searching for the same man who recently robbed two banks in Tulsa.
"We cannot positively confirm, but law enforcement is operating under the assumption at this point it is one and the same," Cartwright said of the suspect. "We are waiting for an outside source to confirm photographs before we positively say it is - but man, it sure looks like it to me."
A Tulsa police spokesman confirmed Thursday's robbery at the Bank of America in the 5900 block of East Admiral Place was carried out by the same man who robbed the Arvest Bank, 208 S. Memorial Drive, on Saturday.
Jesse Bud Leaverton, 58, of Talala, was federally charged in Saturday's robbery this week and has been on the run from law enforcement.
Both robberies consisted of a man handing a note to a teller demanding money and implying he was armed.
A TPD investigator was going to Fairfax on Friday afternoon to evaluate whether the suspect in that robbery was Leaverton, Sgt. Brandon Watkins said.
Osage County Undersheriff Lou Brown said the suspect was believed to be driving a black 2001 extended-cab Chevrolet pickup. He was described as a white man just over 6 feet and weighing about 200 pounds with a shaved head. He wore a black shirt and black pants.
Brown said the FBI will be leading the investigation.
FBI spokesman Terry Weber said Leaverton is a person of interest in the Tulsa and Fairfax bank robberies as well as a June 20 robbery at Platte Valley Bank in Dearborn, Missouri. Anyone with information about any of those four robberies is asked to call the TIPS Hotline in Oklahoma City at 918-596-COPS.
The Oklahoma Bankers Association is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.
Elaine Dodd, executive vice president of OBA's fraud division, said she would hope an active serial robber would have no effect on day-to-day bank operations.
"Not because it's not critically important, but I hope they're on their toes every day," Dodd said. "And I believe that to be the case."
Bank employees are regularly trained in situational awareness and dealing with robberies, she said.
"Our goal is to keep our people and our customers as safe as possible."
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