FBI Nabs Alleged "ZZ Top" Bank Robber in Fort Worth

Accused bank robber in custody near Austin

By Scott Gordon
|  Saturday, Feb 15, 2014  |  Updated 12:55 AM CDT
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FBI Nabs Alleged "ZZ Top" Bank Robber in Fort Worth

William County Sheriff's Office/Federal Bureau of Investigation

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A Fort Worth man arrested in connection with a bank robbery near Austin is suspected of being the “ZZ Top bandit” – a violent, takeover-style robber who has robbed at least 22 banks over the past 11 years, law enforcement officials said.

Jessie Gamboa, 51, was on parole for a bank robbery in 1986 and lived in a quiet neighborhood in West Fort Worth near Highway 377.

Investigators believe he was the “ZZ Top bandit” – a who often disguised himself with a fake beard and hair, sunglasses and a cap.

His long string of heists since 2003, often in small Texas towns along Interstate 35, stumped investigators and later prompted the FBI to rename him the “I-35 bandit.”

After his arrest Feb. 4 in Fort Worth, police searched a storage unit he rented in Arlington and found $146,000 in cash, guns and  $100,000 worth of “high-end guitars and musical equipment,” said Williamson County Sheriff’s department spokesman Fred Thomas.

Gamboa is jailed in Georgetown on charges he robbed the Schwertner State Bank on Oct. 31, 2013.

“He came in there and said, ‘I want all your money and I don’t want just your money in the drawers,’” said bank owner Jim Schwertner. “And he took them into the vault so this gentleman knew what he was doing.”

Gamboa  is held on $1 million bond.

NBC station KXAN-TV in Austin contributed to this report.

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