Home Los Angeles Press Releases 2012 2011 Bank Robbery Numbers in Southern California Lower Than in Past Three Decades; Top 10 Serial Bandits Sought in...

2011 Bank Robbery Numbers in Southern California Lower Than in Past Three Decades; Top 10 Serial Bandits Sought in Collaborative Law Enforcement Effort

FBI Los Angeles February 01, 2012
  • Public Affairs Specialist Laura Eimiller (310) 996-3343

The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office released its annual bank robbery statistics today for the area comprising the judicial district it parallels, the Central District of California—which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties.

The FBI investigates bank robberies jointly with police and sheriff’s departments that have jurisdiction for cities in which bank robberies occur. During 2011, law enforcement responded to 287 bank robberies in the seven county area; the majority of which occurred in Los Angeles County, where 122 bank robberies were reported, followed by Orange County, where 67 were reported. The state of California consistently experiences more bank robberies than any other state. On average, between 40 and 45 percent of robberies in California are committed in the Central District’s seven-county territory.

There were 34 takeover robberies during 2011 of the total 287 robberies. A takeover robbery occurs when one or more suspects take employees and customers inside a bank hostage during the commission of a robbery. Takeovers comprised 11.8 percent of overall bank robberies, comparatively lower than percentages reported in previous years.

The decrease in overall robberies is attributable in part to closer cooperation among law enforcement agencies, successful prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office and its counterparts at the District Attorney’s Offices, as well as a more proactive approach by the banking community in the implementation of additional security measures. In addition, media coverage of increasingly clear bank surveillance photographs and rewards offered by banks and law enforcement has contributed to the community’s awareness and has generated valuable assistance from the public in the identification of unknown subjects.

The decreased number of bank robberies for 2011 is consistent with the fact that bank robberies have declined steadily in Southern California since the numbers peaked in the early 1990s. The numbers for 2011, 287, is approximately one-ninth of the number of total bank robberies that took place during the region’s high in 1992, when there were more than 2,600 bank robberies in the seven-county territory.

In January 2012, the pace of bank robberies has increased and so far this year, 40 bank robberies have been reported in the seven county area, primarily in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, followed by Riverside County.

Although several serial bandits were captured during the month of January, the FBI and its law enforcement partners are seeking the public’s assistance in order to identify 10 serial bank robbers responsible for a large number of hold-ups in Southern California. Bank surveillance photographs and descriptions of each suspect are being provided to the media.

Ten Wanted Serial Robbers

Cheekbone Bandit

M.O.: According to witnesses, the suspect enters bank and announces “Give me all your money” to the bank tellers. The robber repeatedly demands, “Fifties and hundreds.” Robber is inside the bank in less than a minute. The robber has been seen getting into the passenger side of various vehicles, including a late model gray or silver four door BMW with chrome rims; a spray painted or silver Honda Accord; or a four door Chevy Silverado Crew Cab Long Bed 1998 to 2000. During at least one robbery, the driver was described as a white male with blond hair.

Gender

 Race

Build

Height

Weight

Age

Hair

Description

Male

White

Slender

6’0”-6’3”

175-190 lbs

30s

Light

Sunburned, red to pink, possibly peeling or acne

10/17/2011  Comerica Bank           2432 East Katella Avenue, Anaheim
10/25/2011   First Bank (Attempt) 25461 Rancho Niguel Road, Laguna Niguel
10/23/2011

Wells Fargo Bank

8540 E. Chapman Avenue, Orange

01/10/2012

Opus Bank

2400 East Chapman Avenue, Fullerton

01/24/2012

NuVision FCU

20100 Magnolia Street, Huntington Beach


Double Up Bandit

M.O.: Suspect enters a bank and presents a note demanding cash. The suspect takes the cash and leaves the location on foot. Suspect wore sunglasses on the second/third robbery and robbed the same bank on two separate occasions.

Gender

Race

Hair

Height

Weight

Age

Description

Male    

Black

Black

5’7”-5’8”   

150-160 lbs

 

25-30

Unshaven facial hair

01/20/2012

Chase Bank

22840 Victory Blvd., Woodland Hills

12/06/2011

U.S. Bank

6537 Topanga Canyon, Woodland Hills

11/10/2011

U.S. Bank

6537 Topanga Canyon, Woodland Hills


Explosives Threat Bandit

M.O.: During each robbery, the suspect left a device made up of electronic components and various wiring. The suspect stated that someone outside the bank would detonate the device, indicating the device involved explosives. During the West Covina robbery, the suspect stated, “I have a bomb.” After each robbery, a bomb squad from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to the bank to render the device safe.

Gender

Race

Hair

Eyes

Height

Weight

Age

Description

Male

White

Brown

Brown

5’10”-5’11”

175-190 lbs

35-40

Thick goatee

01/17/2012

Chase Bank

1415 Lincoln Blvd., Venice

01/17/2012

Bank of America

2930 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

01/04/2012

Chase Bank

11285 National Blvd., West Los Angeles

01/04/2012

Wells Fargo

10789 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles

11/28/2011

Bank of America

8655 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood

11/15/2011

Bank of America

2901 Eastland Center, West Covina


Geezer Bandit

M.O.: The Geezer Bandit has been described by witnesses as someone who appeared to be an elderly white male, but who may have been wearing a mask and synthetic gloves to disguise his age and facial features. A note demanding cash is passed to the victim teller while the suspect brandishes a revolver and threatens to shoot victims. The Geezer Bandit may use a day planner and may place the cash he receives in a plastic bag. The Geezer Bandit has worn a shirt and tie during robberies and a variety of baseball hats. The suspect is linked to 16 bank robberies in four counties since August of 2009 and may have driven a white vehicle, possibly a BMW, during some of the robberies.

Gender

Race

Build

Height

Weight

Age

Weapon

Description

Male

Mask: white

Average

5’10”-6’0”

190-200 lbs

25-45

Revolver

Possibly wearing a mask to hide true physical characteristics

08/28/2009

U.S. Bank

9643 Mission Gorge Road, Santee

09/12/2009

San Diego National Bank

7877 Ivanhoe, La Jolla

10/09/2009

U.S. Bank

4627 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego

10/26/2009

Bank of America

17008 Avenida de Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe

11/16/2009

Bank of America

7680 Girard Avenue, La Jolla

01/27/2010

San Diego National Bank

1075 Rosecrans, San Diego

04/20/2010

California Bank and Trust

140 Escondido Avenue, Vista

04/30/2010

U. S. Bank

1301 East Vista Way, Vista

05/11/2010

Bank of America

9711 Mission Gorge Road, Santee

06/07/2010

U.S. Bank

14837 Pomerado Road, Poway

06/24/2010

Bank of America

31934 Highway 79 South, Temecula

11/12/2010

Bank of America

4480 Coffee Road, Bakersfield

01/28/2011

Bank of America

5892 Calle Real, Goleta

05/27/2011

Heritage Oaks Bank

310 Morro Bay Blvd, Morro Bay

09/30/2011

Wells Fargo Bank

7544 Girard Avenue, La Jolla

12/02/2011

Bank of America

1105 Higuera St., San Luis Obispo


Gone Plaid Bandit

M.O.: Suspect passes a note in which he demands cash and threatens a weapon. Suspect has worn baseball hats with oversized bills, sunglasses and, in some cases, plaid shirts. In certain robberies, the suspect has been described has having worn an Ace-type bandage on his right hand.

Gender

Race

Hair

Eyes

Height

Weight

Age

Description

Male

White

 

 

5’8”-5’10”

180 lbs

 

 

02/07/2011

Wells Fargo

18529 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda

02/11/2011

Chase Bank

5791 Santa Ana Canyon, Anaheim Hills

05/16/2011

East West Bank

14845 Jeffrey Road, Irvine

01/06/2012

Orange County’s CU

17504 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda

01/09/2012

Chase Bank

25872 Muirlands, Mission Viejo

01/18/2012

East West Bank

14845 Jeffrey, Irvine

01/20/2012

Citibank

6436 Irvine Blvd., Irvine


Interleague Play Bandit

M.O.: Suspect is seen in bank surveillance photos wearing sunglasses and is further described as having worn casual clothing, including buttoned-down shirts and sweatshirts. He is seen in various photos wearing baseball hats with various sports team logos. The Interleague Play Bandit was also seen wearing a patch on the left side of his neck. Investigators theorize the patch was possibly worn to cover a tattoo.

Gender Race Hair Height Weight Age
Eyes

Male

Black

Short black

5’6”-5’8”

130-160 lbs

25-30

Sunglasses

07/01/2011

HSBC

660 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles

08/20/2011

Chase

855 S. Hill Street, Los Angeles

08/22/2011

Bank of America

550 S. Hill Street, Los Angeles

12/02/2011

HSBC

660 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles


Lift and Show Bandit

M.O.: Lifts his jacket to show black handgun in waistband. Threatens to shoot victims.

Gender

Race

Age

Hair

Height

Weight

Weapon

Male

White

25-34

Unknown

5’8”-5’10”

160-185 lbs

Black handgun

12/04/2011

Chase Bank

925 N. Hacienda Blvd., La Puente

12/20/2011

Bank of America

1520 E. Amar Road, West Covina

01/13/2012

Chase Bank

9125 E. Whittier Blvd., Pico Rivera


Make it Quick Bandit

M.O.: The “Make it Quick” Bandit is described as an Hispanic male with dark and, possibly, thinning hair, as well facial hair which has been described by witnesses as a goatee. The bandit has indicated that someone is waiting for him outside of the bank and, in some cases, warns tellers that someone would be waiting outside of the bank for them if they did not quickly comply with his demands for cash. This bandit has selected banks located inside grocery stores and has been seen by witnesses spending time wandering the aisle of the store prior to the robbery.

Gender

Race

Hair

Height

Weight

Age

Description

Male

Hispanic

Dark; possibly thinning on top

5’11”-6’01”

190-210 lbs

25-35

Goatee

01/04/2009

U.S. Bank  

1221 S. Gaffey, San Pedro

06/25/2011

U.S. Bank

1221 S. Gaffey, San Pedro

09/21/2011    U.S. Bank     500 E. Manchester, Inglewood

11/13/2011

U.S. Bank   

500 E. Manchester, Inglewood


Snowboarder Bandit

M.O.:  Approaches victim teller and presents a note that reads, “I’m here to make a deposit,” “Give me the money quickly,” and “I have a gun.” Threatens a weapon.

Gender

Race

Hair

Height

Weight

Age

Description

Male

White

Blond, curly, shoulder-length

5’10”-6’0”

160-185
lbs

25-30

Black shades, rain coat, beanie hat

12/20/2011

Chase Bank

24085 El Toro, Laguna Hills

01/09/2012

Bank of America

8132 Santa Ana Canyon Rd, Anaheim Hills

01/28/2012

U.S. Bank

25636 Crown Valley Parkway, Ladera Ranch

01/31/2012

Union Bank

2865 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar


Stretch Bandit

M.O.: One-on-one robbery; demand note; threatened gun in demand note. Described as very tall and given name due to height.

Gender

Race

Age

Height

Weight

Weapon

Vehicle

Male

White

35-42

6’2”-6’4”

180-200 lbs

None seen

White four-door Honda Accord

07/06/2011

U.S. Bank

2040 S. Hacienda Blvd., Hacienda Heights

07/12/2011

Bank of the West

19005 E. Colima Road, Rowland Heights

01/11/2012

Bank of the West

19005 E. Colima Road, Rowland Heights

01/14/2012

Citibank

18847 Colima Road, Rowland Heights

 

Several bank robbers have been caught in the past month and are being prosecuted by federal or state prosecutors. Some examples are listed as follows:

Captured This Month

  • Steven Dwayne Paulson, 46, the suspected Puffy Coat Bandit, was indicted by a federal grand jury for seven counts of bank robbery after being arrested on January 10, 2012. A detective with the Upland Police Department detained a driver matching the description of the suspect. This case was worked jointly by the multiple police and sheriff’s departments in Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. Paulson will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California (Los Angeles).
  • Eric Allen Jones, 41, was arrested earlier this week and is suspected to be responsible for bank robberies attributed to the “Bucket Hat” Bandit and the “Comply” Bandit for a series of six robberies in Orange County between November 2011 and January 2012. Jones will be prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
  • Robert Vasquez, 28, the suspected 405 Bandit, was arrested by police in Culver City earlier this month in connection with three bank robberies in cities along the 405 in Los Angeles County. Vasquez will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California (Los Angeles).
  • Francisco Gallegos, 34, of Cudahy, the suspected Bubble Wrap Bandit, was arrested earlier this month in connection with seven bank robberies in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Gallegos will be prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney.
  • Steven Craig Hart, 49, of Carlsbad, the suspected Dying Son Bandit was arrested in San Diego County on January 21, 2012 after law enforcement received a tip, following the publicity the case received. Hart is suspected in ten robberies in Orange and San Diego Counties. Hart will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney in the Southern District of California (San Diego).
  • Paul Acosta, 28, of Los Angeles; Andres Soto, 50, of Whittier; and Richard Valdez, 52, of La Habra, part of the suspected “Market Duo Bandit” series, were arrested earlier this month in connection with a series of bank robberies in Orange County supermarkets. Following a robbery that occurred on January 5, 2012, police in multiple cities were led by suspects on a high speed pursuit. Acosta, Soto and Valdez will be prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information as to the identity or whereabouts of the suspects in any of the above-listed series is urged to contact the FBI or dial 911 immediately. In Los Angeles, the FBI can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 888 CANT HIDE (888 226-8443).

Photos of additional bank robbery suspects being sought by the FBI and its law enforcement partners in the Southern California area can be found by visiting www.labankrobbers.org.