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.
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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 ten serial bank robbers responsible for a large number of hold-ups in Southern California.
LIST OF TEN WANTED SERIAL ROBBERS:
* Cheekbone Bandit
MO: 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.
General description: male, 30s, white, blond hair, slender build, 6’ 0” -6’ 3”, 175-190 lbs. Complexion: light, sunburned, red to pink, possibly peeling.
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
MO: 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.
Description: Male, black 25-30, black hair, 5’7″-5’8″, 150-160 lbs. with 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
MO: 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.
Description: Male, whote, 35-40, brown hair, brown eyes, 5’10″-5’11″,175-190 lbs., 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.
Description: Male, white (wears mask), 25-45, average build, 5’10″-6’0″, 190-200 lbs., uses revolver and wears 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.
Description: Male, white, no age given, 5’08″-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.
Description: Male, black, no age given, short black hair, 5’6″-5’8″, 130-160 lbs.
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
MO: Lifts his jacket to show black handgun in waistband. Threatens to shoot victims
Description: Male, white, 25-34, 5’8″-5’10″, 160-185 lbs., uses 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.
Description: Male, Hispanic, 25-35, goatee, dark hair, possibly thinning on top, 5’11″-6’01″ ,190-210 lbs.
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
11/13/20111 U.S. Bank 500 E. Manchester, Inglewood
* Snowboarder Bandit
MO: 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 tellers with a weapon.
Description: Male, white, 25-30, blond, curly, shoulder-length hair, 5’10″-6’0″, 160-185 lbs. Seen wearing black shades, rain coat, beanie-style 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
MO: One-on-one robbery; demand note – threatened gun in demand note. Described as very tall and given name due to height.
Description: Male, white, 35-42, 6’2″-6’4″, 180-200 lbs.
Drives a white, 4-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 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.