Brazen Bank Bandit Branches Out to NJ

Elusive thief has robbed eight area banks since December, FBI says

The audacious bank bandit who robbed seven New York City banks in the last three months, including two in one week this February, has struck again – this time across the Hudson River.

Marat Mikhaylich -- dubbed "the Holiday Bandit" because of the season in which the robberies began – robbed a Sovereign Bank in Woodbridge, N.J., on Friday, the FBI confirms.

While cops say Friday's heist marked Mikhaylich's first robbery in the Garden State, he's allegedly menaced tellers throughout the Big Apple since December. And cops believe he's getting bolder.

Earlier this month, Mikhaylich strolled into a Capital One bank in Borough Park, Brooklyn on a Sunday and hit an Investors Savings Bank in Astoria, Queens three days later, according to the FBI. He's also suspected of robbing five other city banks since the holiday season, including branches in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Authorities say Mikhaylich has made off with at least $50,000 in those heists, and that he always flees on foot. It wasn't immediately clear how much cash he allegedly stole in the latest heist.

Authorities say Mikhaylich follows the same modus operandi in each of the eight robberies. He hands a bank teller a note at gunpoint and demands cash, they say.

Despite dispatching cops and helicopters to the scene of at least one hold-up in progress, authorities haven't been able to nab the elusive Russian-speaking robber. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound alleged thief goes by the name "Mark" rather than the name "Marat," the FBI says, and has no previous criminal record. He's 35 years old.

“The Holiday Bandit continues to raise the stakes, becoming more aggressive, and his hold-ups more frequent," the FBI said in a statement. "The frequency might indicate some kind of addiction problem.

The FBI asks anyone with information on Mikhaylich to call the FBI-NYPD's Joint Bank Robbery Task Force at (212)384-1000.

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