FBI Los Angeles
Public Affairs Specialist Laura Eimiller
(310) 996-3343
July 1, 2014

Man Believed to be Hypnotist Bandit Arrested and Charged Federally Following a Bank Robbery at the FBI’s Ventura Office

A Los Angeles man was charged with a bank robbery that occurred in the city of Ventura Monday and is suspected in other recent bank robberies in Los Angeles County, announced André Birotte, Jr., the United States Attorney in Los Angeles, and Bill L Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Manuel Jose Hernandez, 28, of Los Angeles, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles this afternoon with one count of bank robbery. According to the complaint, Hernandez robbed a Chase Bank on South Victoria Avenue in the city of Ventura, California, on Monday afternoon. Hernandez was observed by agents upon leaving the bank, according to the complaint, which is located on the ground floor of the building that houses the FBI’s Ventura Resident Agency. Agents pursued Hernandez for approximately one-half mile before apprehending him without further incident. Agents were assisted by a detective with the California Highway Patrol who is assigned to a Federal Bureau of Investigation task force in Ventura and detectives with the Ventura Police Department.

Hernandez is also suspected in multiple bank robberies in recent weeks that are under investigation by various agencies in the cities of South El Monte, Temple City, Pasadena, and Manhattan Beach. These robberies were linked to an unidentified suspect given the moniker “Hypnotist Bandit” after victim tellers reported that the suspect stared at them during the robberies.

Hernandez was held overnight at the Ventura Police Department and turned over to federal custody this morning. Hernandez will be in court this afternoon for an initial appearance in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

The case against Hernandez is a continuing investigation being conducted jointly by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; the El Monte Police Department; the Pasadena Police Department; the Manhattan Beach Police Department; the Ventura Police Department; and the FBI. Hernandez will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.