MEDFORD, Ore. – A convicted bank robber the FBI nicknamed the "Zombie Bandit" during a string of bank holdups in the Midwest in 1991 is the suspect in a robbery last week in Medford.
Surveillance videos convinced investigators the man who robbed the Liberty Bank on Dec. 30 is 67-year-old Alan David Hurwitz, who served prison time for holdups at 18 banks across Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
"He is not the most likely bank robber, but we have seen people fall off the pedestal in the past and resort to crime," Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said.
The FBI nicknamed him the "Zombie Bandit" because of the vacant look on his face during the Midwest robberies.
Hurwitz was arrested in 1992 and sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.
Police describe him as a man who did a lot of good until a drug habit turned him to crime.
"He's done a lot of good in his life, but he has been a slave to crack cocaine," Medford police Deputy Chief Tim George said.
At one time Hurwitz was a Detroit teacher, a staff member at Michigan State University, a member of a task force on school violence and a deputy director of the Peace Corps in Kenya, according to a 2005 profile in Detroit's Metro Times newspaper.
Hurwitz told the newspaper he might move to Northern California to be with his daughters.
The robber who Medford police believe was Hurwitz displayed a handgun and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash through a parking lot.
Doney views him as a dangerous criminal who struck fear in the bank tellers.
"When you're staring down the barrel of a gun, that's real fear," Doney said. "He did cause a lot of trauma to his victims."
Police also have linked Hurwitz to a Dec. 11 bank robbery in San Rafael, Calif.