Serial Bank Robbers in Unrelated Cases Rob in Orange County
Two banks were robbed in Orange County on September 8. Following preliminary investigation, the crimes have been linked to two separate serial bank robbers currently being sought by the Orange County Bank Robbery Apprehension Team (BRAT), whose members are working with various municipalities where the suspects have robbed. The BRAT is a partnership between the FBI and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which works with fellow law enforcement agencies to investigate bank robberies in Orange County. The banks linked to each unrelated suspect are listed below:
Cal Bear Bandit
A suspect known as the “Cal Bear” Bandit has been linked to three robberies, including one on September 8 in Costa Mesa, California. The Cal Bear Bandit, named due to the fact he has worn a California Republic hat in more than one robbery, is described as a white male is his 20s.
During the September 8 robbery in Costa Mesa, the Cal Bear Bandit passed a note to the victim teller demanding cash and threatened a weapon, as well as an explosive device. No explosives were found following the initial investigation. The Costa Mesa Police Department and the Orange Police Department are jointly investigating with the BRAT (FBI/OCSD).
- September 8, 2014: Bank of America, Costa Mesa
- September 3, 2014: Farmers and Merchants, Orange
- August 20, 2014: Chase Bank, San Juan Capistrano
A suspect known as the Hills Bandit has been linked to nine bank robberies, including an attempted bank robbery in La Jolla, as well as a bank robbery in Laguna Hills; both of which occurred the afternoon of September 8. The Hills Bandit has been linked to the below-listed robberies in Orange and San Diego Counties. The Hills Bandit is described as a white male between 40 and 50 years old.
During the September 8 bank robbery and attempted robbery, the Hills Bandit passed a note demanding cash and threatened a weapon. The BRAT (FBI/OCSD) is investigating jointly with multiple law enforcement partners in both regions, including the Carlsbad Police Department, the San Diego Police Department, and the FBI’s San Diego Division.
- September 8, 2014: U.S. Bank, Laguna Niguel
- September 8, 2014: Union Bank, La Jolla (attempt)
- August 25, 2014: Cal Bank & Trust, San Diego
- August 22, 2014: Wells Fargo, Laguna Niguel
- August 8, 2014: U.S. Bank, Laguna Hills
- August 5, 2014: U.S. Bank, Carlsbad
- July 25, 2014: Citibank, Lake Forest
- July 16, 2014: Citibank, Laguna Hills
- May 6, 2014: Wells Fargo, Laguna Hills