Same M.O. Helped Identify Serial Robber

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(Tupelo, MS) Authorities say the bank robber who hit up banks from Atlanta to Phoenix, killing a Tupelo police officer along the way, is dead.

We learned more about why investigators believe Mario Garnett was responsible for all the crimes.

Tupelo's police chief says that after the robbery of the bank on Gloster Street and the shooting of two officers, he helped work with the US Marshall's Office, the FBI, and the Mississippi State Highway Patrol to help pinpoint who this robber was.

Investigators say it was an Oklahoma man who went on a robbery and shooting rampage across the country.

They say 40-year-old Mario Garnett robbed a bank in Atlanta December 23, shot two officers in Tupelo later that day, and then was killed by a police officer six days later after robbing bank in Phoenix.

"I made sure that all information was being shared," said Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre.

Chief Aguirre says it was comparing surveillance video from the Atlanta robbery and the one in Tupelo that helped break the case.

"There was no doubt in my mind that we were looking at the serial bank robber here."

Aguirre says in both bank robberies, Garnett used a wooden block to keep the banks' doors propped open, he wore the same jacket, and said the same things.

"He would talk to the tellers and tell them, 'Nobody be a hero.'"

After a Phoenix police officer shot and killed Garnett Saturday morning, Aguirre says detectives searched the robber's car and found wooden blocks and receipts tying him to the different cities.

Also, the surveillance video from the Phoenix bank robbery revealed another clue.

"The video showed that he was left-handed and the bank robber from here showed that he was always holding that gun in his left hand."

Aguirre says that gun was a .45 caliber with cartridge casings matching ones in the Tupelo shootings, where Sgt. Gale Stauffer was killed and Officer Joe Maher was shot in the face.

He's on his way to recovery.

Even though Officer Maher is still in the hosptial, the chief says he gave the news to him Saturday night that the robber had been killed in Phoenix and he says Maher was very emotional and thankful and wanted to shake everybody's hand.