LA HABRA — A serial bank robber linked to five heists, including ones in La Mirada and La Habra, is behind bars, La Habra police announced Thursday.
Francisco Gallegos, 34, of Cudahy, is suspected of being the “Bubble Wrap Bandit,” La Habra police officials said in a written statement.
The arrest was disclosed Thursday, though Gallegos was arrested Saturday following a robbery at a La Habra U.S. Bank branch and a police pursuit that ended in a crash in Norwalk, officials said.
La Habra police Saturday responded to a report of a bank robbery at the U.S. Bank inside Vons supermarket, 2101 W. Imperial Hwy., according to the La Habra police statement.
The robber had handed a teller a note demanding cash before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash and getting into a white Volkswagon car, police said.
A La Habra police detective spotted a car matching the description, beginning a pursuit that ended with a crash at Firestone Boulevard and Elmcroft Avenue in Norwalk, officials said.
With the help of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, officers arrested Gallegos, the police statement said. He was booked into jail Sunday after being treated for injuries he suffered in the crash.
In addition to the La Habra bank robbery, he’s suspected of a Sept. 14, 2011 bank robbery at a Bank of the West branch in La Mirada, as well as heists in Bell Gardens and South Gate, according to the FBI.
The bandit earned his moniker because he’s been seen carrying a manila, bubble-wrap lined envelope during some of the crimes, officials said.
He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of robbery and one count of burglary in Orange County Superior Court, where his bail was set at $1 million, officials said.
PHOTO courtesy of the La Habra Police Department