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Authorities arrest man believed to be behind 25 bank robberies

Local law enforcement has apparently made the first dent in suppressing a string of bank robberies across Erie and Niagara counties.The arrest of the man believed to be behind a shifting gang of robbers was announced Wednesday afternoon. For eight months, area law enforcers have been probing a growing list of robberies across the region committed by a shifting group of young people.

However, there were few details about Wednesday's arrest of 21-year old Michael Mitchell. Authorities were quiet about the charges which led to a warrant being issued for Mitchell on December 18 and culminating in his Lovejoy area arrest.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Brian Boetig says Mitchell has been sought for weeks.

"We will breathe a sigh of relief that he is in custody, but we will remain steadfast in our commitment of aggressively identifying, prioritizing and targeting violent criminals in Western New York," said Boetig.

No details of the charges were released because Mitchell hasn't yet made a court appearance to answer a sealed warrant. He's believed behind 25 robberies and recruiting young people who committed the crimes.

Boetig declined to answer any questions, nor did the various police agencies represented on the Safe Streets Task Force.

The actual arrest was made by uniformed Buffalo police and Erie County Sheriff's deputies. The charges will be released once he makes an initial court appearance.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.