FBI: Photo finish for serial bank robber

Authorities say this man, looking like any ordinary customer at a TD Bank in Roxborough, is Tarik Hooks, who was charged in a local robbery spree.
Authorities say this man, looking like any ordinary customer at a TD Bank in Roxborough, is Tarik Hooks, who was charged in a local robbery spree.
Posted: March 01, 2013

TARIK HOOKS' LinkedIn page says he's a businessman with an MBA, and police in New York have lauded his brave testimony in a murder trial.

But the FBI says he's the serial bank robber whose uncovered mug graced the front page of the Daily News on Feb. 21, after he allegedly knocked over seven banks and tried to rob two others.

Hooks, 35, a West Philly contracts and budget manager with a master's degree from Strayer University, was charged Thursday in connection with nine area bank robberies and admitted to a 10th in Delaware after his arrest, the FBI said. Hooks, of Chestnut Street near 61st, was arrested last Friday.

He allegedly hit his first bank Feb. 2 and wore a disguise only during the most recent, which was the same day he appeared on the People Paper's front page.

Hooks allegedly made off with more than $23,000 during his run, hitting a bank a day for three days straight at one point, according to an affidavit filed in federal court Wednesday.

His LinkedIn profile says that he works for Horizon House, a local nonprofit that deals with psychological problems, addictions and homelessness. The organization could not be reached for comment.

Hooks' alleged crime spree sharply contrasts with the praise he garnered for cooperating with law enforcement in the murder trial of an upstate New York police officer in 2010 despite threats against him and two other witnesses from Philadelphia.

At the time, the Utica Observer quoted New Hartford police Investigator Richard Salamone as saying that the authorities were "grateful they came up and testified, even knowing there [could] be a repercussion."

An anonymous tip first put cops and the FBI on Hooks' trail sometime after Feb. 8, leading them to his white Lexus sedan, the affidavit said.

Hooks was finally nabbed after a grocery-store security camera caught him stealing a dark sedan that police believed had been used in a recent robbery, according to the affidavit.

In the stolen car, police said they found a wig and a hat that Hooks allegedly used in the last robbery.

"This was unusual both because he didn't seem to make any efforts to disguise himself and that he was so prolific in such a short amount of time," said Carrie Adamowski, an FBI spokeswoman in Philly. "He got lucky for a while there."

She refused to comment on whether Hooks' showcase on the Daily News' cover the day before his arrest had any effect, but said "extra pairs of eyes" were always welcome.

"We're happy to catch him through any means," she said.


On Twitter: @jad_sleiman

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