Home Chicago Press Releases 2010 Arrest Made in “Swine Flu Bandit” Investigation

Arrest Made in “Swine Flu Bandit” Investigation

FBI Chicago November 11, 2010
  • Special Agent Joan Hyde (312) 829-1199

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was joined today by Jody P. Weis, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD); and Tom Dart, Cook County Sheriff, in announcing the arrest of a suspected serial bank robber who is believed responsible for the armed robbery of at least nine Chicago area banks, dating to September of this year.

MATTHEW D. MAHONEY, age 28, of Chicago, was arrested yesterday afternoon, without incident, by members of the Chicago FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF) in the 1200 block of South Wabash Street as he was apparently planning the robbery of a 10th bank. VCTF members were inside the First American Bank, located at 1241 South Wabash, which had been robbed by the “Swine Flu Bandit” in back September, when they noticed MAHONEY standing outside. He not only matched the description of the robber, but was wearing what appeared to be the same clothes that were worn during robberies earlier in the week. When they approached MAHONEY, task force members discovered a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in his coat pocket.

He was arrested without incident and was charged in a criminal complaint field earlier today in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of armed bank robbery, which is a felony offense. The complaint charges MAHONEY with the November 6 robbery of the Chase Bank branch, located at 550 South Dearborn Street in Chicago, during which he escaped with over $55,000 in cash.

According to the complaint, MAHONEY entered the Chase Bank just before 2:00 p.m. and approached a bank employee, pulling a handgun from the pocket of his jacket and announcing a robbery. He then demanded to be escorted to the vault, which he forced a second bank employee to open. He then ordered the two employees to fill a large brown bag that he brought with him with cash. After the bag was filled, he forced one of the bank employees to accompany him to the bank’s exit, warning them not to activate any alarms. He then disappeared into the passing crowd.

Though only charged with the November 6 robbery, MAHONEY is a suspect in eight additional thefts, committed by an individual who was dubbed the “Swine Flu Bandit.” The robber was given this moniker as he wore a white surgical mask in his earlier thefts, telling inquiring bank employees that he had or was recovering from the swine flu.

MAHONEY appeared before Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert in Chicago, earlier today, at which time he was formally charged. MAHONEY was ordered held without bond, pending his next court appearance, which is scheduled for November 16. Until then, MAHONEY will be held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago. If convicted of the charge filed against him, MAHONEY faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years' incarceration.

This case was investigated by the Chicago FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of FBI special agents, detectives from the Chicago Police Department, and investigators from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Additional information about this investigation and other unsolved bank robberies, including downloadable photographs, is available at the Chicago Bandit Tracker website, www.bandittrackerchicago.com.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Copies of the wanted flyer and criminal complaint are available from the Chicago FBI’s press office at (312) 829-1199.