Zombie Bandit Dies! The End of a Shocking True Crime Story
Updated: Aug 18
Alan Hurwitz wasn't a bad guy. He had a passion for social justice and teaching kids in a Detroit Public Schools classroom.
"I was raised in a liberal Jewish tradition of justice, learning, and equality," Alan told the Detroit Metro Times in 2005.
However, Alan's life changed dramatically in 1992, in kind of a "Breaking Bad" way. He got hooked on crack. To pay for his drug addiction, Alan went on a bank-robbing spree.
The first bank he robbed was in Southfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.
"It was four o'clock on a Friday afternoon, and the bank is jammed. I get in this long line and wait and wait," Alan said in that Detroit Metro Times interview. "I finally get to a teller in the middle, and I've got like a four-page robbery note. 'Do this, don't do that.'
"The place is filled with people, and I give the young lady the robbery note. Her eyes get big, and she's reading and reading and reading. I finally say, 'Just give me the money.'"
This tiny, quiet guy knocked over 18 banks in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio, in just nine weeks. Every time he walked up to a teller's window, Alan had a blank look on his face as he demanded money. It was a stare that scared people on the other side of the counter.
The way the tellers all described Alan led FBI agents to nickname him, "The Zombie Bandit."
He never got busted coming out of a bank. Alan's crime spree came to an end after people watching "America's Most Wanted," called the TV program's tip line to say they'd seen him.
Alan pled guilty to 13 of the bank robberies and was sentenced to a dozen years in prison.
He was released and moved to Northern California to live with his daughter, Laura. But old habits are hard to break. Alan started robbing banks again. The police caught up with him after his fourth robbery of a California bank.
He drove to Wyoming. Cased a couple of banks there, but the cops caught up with him. Alan was captured in Wyoming, tried in California, and sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison.
May 20 of this year, Alan walked out of a federal prison in North Carolina on a compassionate release because of Covid-19. The killer disease was racing through the prison population, taking the lives of guards and prisoners. Officials released as many of Alan's fellow felons as possible. Alan was one of the lucky ones. Almost.
Alan was not tested for the disease, according to his daughter.
His release came too late for Alan. He died of Covid-19, June 6, in an Orleans, California hospital.
The New York Times reported Alan Hurwitz, the Zombie Bandit, died at the age of 79.
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