PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The so-called "Zombie Bandit," who was convicted of robbing Midwest banks in the 1990s and was wanted in last week's holdup of one in Oregon, has been arrested in Wyoming, the authorities said.
Alan Hurwitz, 67, was stopped Thursday by a state trooper on Interstate 80 — about a half-hour after Oregon police contacted Wyoming authorities with word he might be there.
"It was like a late Christmas present for us," Medford police Lt. Tim Doney told the Mail-Tribune newspaper of Medford. "We were happy that he was caught quickly before he could commit another crime."
Hurwitz was arrested on a charge of robbing the Liberty Bank branch in Medford Dec. 30. Police and the FBI have also linked Hurwitz to a Dec. 11 bank robbery in San Rafael, Calif.
Hurwitz grew up in Detroit and was a respected educator before becoming a drug addict, according to a 2005 profile in Detroit's Metro Times newspaper. He went on a robbery spree in the early 1990s, hitting 18 banks spread across four Midwest states. The FBI gave him the nickname the "Zombie Bandit" because of his vacant look.
He was arrested in 1992 and sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.
Police and FBI agents in Medford said interviews with witnesses and others enabled them to pin down what they believed to the be the make and model of the suspect's car.
The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported that Wyoming state Trooper David Wagener received word to be on the lookout for a maroon 1998 Volkswagen Passat. The alert trooper was westbound on I-80 when he spotted the vehicle headed in the opposite direction.
Hurwitz was arrested without incident.
Informed of the suspect's reputed lack of facial expression, Wagener told the Press-Democrat, "I would say that would be an accurate description through my contact."
Hurwitz was being held without bail in a Laramie, Wyo., jail.
(Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.)