FBI: 'Trash Talking Bandits' responsible for largest bank heist in recent Colorado history

DENVER - The Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force is looking for two violent bank robbers responsible for a "takeover" robbery last week where they held guns to employees' heads to access the vault and steal a sizeable amount of cash.

The two robbers, armed with guns and covered from head-to-toe with clothing and straw hats, entered the Wells Fargo branch bank at 74th Avenue and Federal Boulevard on Jan. 21.

They made off with a "significant" amount of cash, said Denver FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle, during a Friday morning news conference.

Ravenelle said the Task Force has dubbed the robbers, "The Trash Talking Bandits," because of the vile language they used during the robbery and because they used trash bags to carry out their loot.

"The individuals responsible for this violent bank robbery used handguns to intimidate and terrorize employees and bank customers alike," he said. "They placed the barrel of a gun to the heads of employees."

Ravenelle told 7NEWS there may have been others involved.

"They should be considered armed and dangerous," he said.

Ravenelle said most bank robberies are discreet, where the bandit hands a note to the teller and customers are unaware of what's going on.

But this "takeover" robbery terrified all 40 people in the bank, including children, he said.

"We're particularly concerned by the level of violence used by these criminals and the possibility of them acting again, resulting in injuries to innocent persons," Ravenelle said.

The bank robbers fled in a stolen 1992 black Jeep Cherokee that was found near the bank a few hours later by Westminster police. The Jeep was stolen out of north Denver on the morning of Jan. 19.

The FBI won't say exactly how much money was taken, but they confirmed that it was one of the largest heists ever in the Denver region.

"It was an exceedingly large amount of cash," Ravenelle said.

Wells Fargo initially offered a $25,000 reward for the capture of the robbers, but on Friday announced that the reward had been raised to $35,000.

"We are committed to solving this crime and we're also taking to steps, certainly in Westminster, to make sure all of our financial institutions are receiving extra protection and security," said Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk.

Because the thieves were covered from head to toe in clothing, bandanas, hats and glasses, the FBI does not know their gender or race. Ravenelle said investigators believe that both are men, but said it’s possible one is a woman.

One of robbers is between 5-feet-7 inches to 5-feet 9-inches tall with medium build. The other robber is 5-feet-8 inches to 5-feet-10 inches tall with a thin build.

One was wearing a white jacket with the word "Tommy" on it -- a knockoff of a Tommy Hilfiger -- that was likely bought at a flea market or similar store, Ravenelle said.

The FBI is asking anyone who may know the individuals described above, or who has seen someone with a large amount of money, or someone whose spending habits have changed, or who has been acting suspiciously lately, to please contact law enforcement.

Additionally, anyone with information about this bank robbery can contact the FBI’s Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force at 303-435-7787. 

You can also remain anonymous and earn a reward of up to $2,000 by calling Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).