The FBI announced Wednesday that it is offering a $20,000 rewardfor information leading to the arrest of suspects who kidnappedcredit union and bank employees and forced them to rob their ownfinancial institutions in Tennessee.

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“The FBI, along with the Knoxville Police Department, KnoxCounty Sheriff's Office and the Oak Ridge Police Department arerequesting the public's assistance in identifying and locatingindividuals responsible for the kidnapping and extortion involvingthe Y-12 Federal Credit Union and the kidnapping and extortioninvolving the SmartBank,” a statement released by the FBIoffice in Knoxville, Tenn. read.

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On April 28, 2015, two men and a woman entered the WestKnoxville home of MarkZiegler, president/CEO for the $837 million Y-12 FederalCredit Union in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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The suspects kidnapped Ziegler, his wife and their teenage son,and demanded that Ziegler go to the credit union to retrieve anundetermined amount of money to secure the release of hisfamily.

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When Ziegler took longer than the kidnappers anticipated, theyabandoned the plan and released their hostages unharmed inKnoxville's Gettysvue Country Club parking lot. They fled the scenewithout the money.

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On July 7, 2015, a SmartBank employee and his family werekidnapped from their home and held hostage at gunpoint.

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The employee and his family were taken to a SmartBank branch inKnoxville where the employee was coerced to remove an undisclosedamount of money, which was provided to the robbers.

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The employee was then left at the bank and his family wasreleased unharmed a short time later, according to the FBI.

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About a week after the Y-12 FCU attempted robbery, the FBIreleased a description of the suspects. The two males were white,one was between five feet, nine inches tall and five feet, 11inches tall with a thin build. The second suspect was described asfive feet, 10 inches to six feet tall with a stocky build.

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These suspects in the Y-12 FCU incident closely match thesuspects in the SmartBank robbery, according to the FBI.

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“The investigative agencies are exploring the possibility thatthese two events are related, based on similar subject descriptionand similar method of operation,” the FBI said in its preparedstatement.

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Federal authorities are also investigating a similarcase that occurred on June 8 in Memphis, Tenn., when twoblack males wearing rubber masks, wigs and dark or camouflagedclothing kidnapped an FAA Federal Credit Union employee from herhome at 6:20 a.m. and forced her to help them rob it, according toFBI investigators in Memphis.

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Before leaving the home, the suspects tied up the employee'ssister, leaving her there. Using the employee's car, the suspectsdrove to a branch of the $105 million FAA FCU and forced her to letthem in the credit union to gain access to cash, FBI investigatorsreported.

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After stealing an undetermined amount of money, the suspectsdrove off in the employee's car and later abandoned it behind aKroger Supermarket about 1.6 miles south of the branch.

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The Memphis FBI is also offering a $10,000 reward forinformation leading to the arrest and indictment of the personsinvolved in the FAA FCU robbery case.

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The FBI has not said whether the Memphis and Knoxville incidentsare related.

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Federal investigators are also continuing to investigate theFebruary home invasion and attempted credit union robbery caseinvolving Matthew Yussman, CFO of the $121million AchieveFinancial Credit Union in Berlin, Conn.

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Yussman claimed that two men disguised in dark clothing wearingski masks and goggles invaded the home that he shared with hismother, strapped a bomb to his chest, and forced him to drive to acredit union branch to steal $1 million.

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No arrests have been made yet in this case.

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