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Police: 'Bearded Bandit' arrested in connection with 8 armed robberies of Valley check-cashing shops

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Posted at 12:48 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-11 16:15:28-05

A man known as the "Bearded Bandit", who reportedly robbed as many as eight check-cashing stores, has been caught by police. 

Court records show that between April and December 2016, the "Bearded Bandit" was responsible for eight armed robberies at stores in Phoenix and Glendale.

Police report that all the crimes occurred either at the beginning or end of the business day with the suspect, later identified as 28-year-old Francisco Manuel Nieblas Rodriguez, having a "full manicured beard."

The crime spree reportedly began on April 19 when Rodriguez approached a victim as she was closing the Cash for U Check Cashing store near 59th and Glendale avenues. Rodriguez allegedly held a handgun to the employee, forcing her to put money into a brown fabric grocery bag. Rodriguez got about $75,000 from this robbery. 

Police say Rodriguez struck two more times in August, and once in September. He took October off, but got busy again in December with four more armed robberies.

Police report that not all of his attempts were successful -- one female employee fought with Rodriguez, kicking him in the groin and hitting an alarm that scared him off. 

On December 20, police conducted surveillance on various West Valley check-cashing businesses and located Rodriguez attempting to rob another store near 67th and Glendale avenues. 

Police say they found evidence linking him to the robberies in his car and at his home. 

Rodriguez has been placed on an immigration hold, and has been charged with two counts of armed robbery so far.