TUPPER LAKE - The FBI believes Israel Keyes was the Tupper Lake bank robber.
FBI spokespeople in Albany confirmed with the Enterprise Tuesday that the confessed murderer had also admitted to the robbery. They said the FBI sees no reason to doubt his story, since he was already a suspect in the case before he admitted to it.
Keyes, 34, who committed suicide on Sunday, is being described as a loner who traveled around the country killing at random because he liked it.
While in jail in Alaska for the murder of an 18-year-old barista, Keyes slowly admitted to more and more crimes, but told law enforcement he would stop talking if his name was released. That's why the details of his crimes didn't come out until he killed himself in his jail cell Sunday.
The FBI wouldn't provide any information about why Keyes was suspected in the 2009 robbery of the Hosley Avenue branch of Community Bank in Tupper Lake.
State police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain declined to give any information about the case. He wouldn't say why, but he said he would share information with the media about the state police's work "as soon as there's an opportunity."
Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne told the Enterprise Tuesday that state police have been working with the FBI on the case for several months.
Keyes owned a 10-acre piece of property in Constable, in northern Franklin County along the Canada border. He had his tax bills sent to Anchorage, Alaska, in recent years and was paying those bills, Champagne said.
According to the Associated Press, a gun used in the random 2011 killing of an Essex, Vt., couple was found in a reservoir in Parishville, in St. Lawrence County, about 30 miles southwest from the Constable property.
Champagne said his office wasn't notified that Keyes had admitted to the Tupper Lake bank robbery until Tuesday, two days after Keyes was dead.
"There have been a number of components where FBI left us out of the loop," Champagne said.
He said that is likely due to the fact that multiple FBI offices were involved in the investigation. He said local law enforcement generally has a good relationship with the FBI offices in Albany and around the state.
Champagne said he wants to take some time to look at the case before he is sure that Keyes was the Tupper Lake bank robber.
"The time period fits," Champagne said. "But I obviously would like to sit down and make certain everything fits, not just the time period."
Champagne said there aren't any other unsolved cases that he suspects could be attributed to Keyes. That goes for missing persons cases, too, of which there have been several in the area lately.
"Not yet," Champagne said. "Not for Franklin County."
Several people in Tupper Lake, including village police, brought up the idea that Keyes may be related to the case of missing Tupper Lake teen Colin Gillis, who disappeared in the early morning hours of March 10 of this year after leaving a party and last being seen on the side of the state highway between Franklin and St. Lawrence counties.
It was March 13 that Keyes was arrested in Lufkin, Texas, on charges in the barista murder.
The local manager of the Community Bank branch, as well as Community Bank administrative officials, declined to comment on the robbery appearing to be solved.
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