BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo FBI office is looking for Michael James Keitz, a convicted felon who agents say is wanted for committing two bank robberies in October 2015.
Investigators say Keitz, who has ties to Western New York, could be anywhere in the United States because of his “transient” lifestyle.
“He seems to get places by either bicycle, perhaps bus, and a significant amount of walking,” said Adam Cohen, FBI Special Agent in Charge.
Cohen says Keitz once walked from Virginia to New York.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Keitz on March 4 in connection with the 2015 bank robberies.
Keitz is accused of robbing an M&T Bank branch at 1205 Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst on October 2, 2015.
According to a criminal complaint, Keitz appeared to write something on a deposit slip and went to the next available bank teller.
The complaint states that the note read, “Do this now. Count out $2,000 in 10’s, 20’s, 50’s and 100’s loose bill. Give them to me now! The bomb detonates when you call police.”
Several days later on March 9, 2015, Keitz is accused of robbing a Northwest Savings Bank branch at 2313 West State Street in Olean.
Agents say Keitz appeared to write something on a deposit slip and approached the next available bank teller.
The federal complaint states that the note read, “Give me all your loose bills now or get shot!”
Keitz, according to the complaint, fled the scene on a bicycle.
The Buffalo FBI’s Adam Cohen tells News 4 that Keitz has been known to live a transient lifestyle and is comfortable spending time outdoors.
Cohen says after the 2015 bank robberies, Keitz dropped off the grid.
“He disappeared for about 14 months. We had no indications about where he was. What his condition was. Whether he was alive or dead,” said Cohen.
Federal authorities believe Keitz surfaced in Orlando, Florida this past December.
Keitz was arrested and convicted of a bank robbery in the Lake Placid area in 1999, according to the criminal complaint, and that the method used in that case was similar to the Western New York robberies.
In the Lake Placid area bank robbery, Keitz wrote on a deposit slip that he was “in possession of an explosive device” and would detonate the device if the “teller” called police, according to the complaint.
“During a prior arrest of Mr. Keitz, he at that time pointed a weapon at law enforcement and was subsequently shot by law enforcement. So individuals, if they encounter him, should consider him to be potentially armed and dangerous,” Cohen said.
The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Anyone with information can call the Buffalo FBI at (716) 856-7800.