The FBI is warning New England banks to be on the lookout for a super-sized man with a superhero-like nickname.

The Fat Man, as officials with the bureau have dubbed him, has robbed 17 banks in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut since April 3, grabbing more than $30,000 in cash but leaving few tracks. He is said to be white, 6 feet tall, and 225 to 280 pounds.

"Many of the tellers have used adjectives like 'pudgy' and 'heavyset' to describe him," said Gail Marcinkeiwicz, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Boston division. He typically wears a Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap or a knit hat, she added.

Many of the overweight outlaw's targets are community banks; this week he held up $47 million-asset Commonwealth Co-operative Bank's sole branch, in Westborough, Mass. But he has hit some large ones as well, including three Boston-area branches of $33 billion-asset Sovereign Bank of Wyomissing, Pa.

Most of the branches are far from public transportation, which leads the FBI to believe The Fat Man has an accomplice even though there has been no witness report of a getaway car, Ms. Marcinkeiwicz said.

One of The Fat Man's few consistencies is that he begins by passing a note to a teller that says he has a gun or that he will jump over the counter and stab the teller, but he has yet to wield a weapon, Ms. Marcinkeiwicz said.

"Except for being traumatized, none of the victims have been hurt," she said.

The FBI is getting word out in newspapers and on television to get help from the public and banks, making the standard warning to put safety first.

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