Serial bank robbery suspect arrested after lengthy chase from Santa Fe Springs to Rialto

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SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man who led police on a wild chase from Santa Fe Springs to Rialto that lasted more than an hour is believed to be a serial bank robbery linked to nine heists and attempted heists in Orange and San Diego counties, authorities said.
Stephen Richard Bartlett, 53, was arrested on suspicion of numerous crimes following the chase, which began about 10:15 a.m. outside a Santa Fe Springs steel business, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Following his arrest, which took place after he crashed a stolen 1-ton utility truck off the side of the 219 Freeway in Rialto, investigators determined that Bartlett is a suspect known to the FBI as the “Hills Bandit,” sought for eight bank robberies and one failed bank robbery since may, Ellis said.
Bartlett was taken to a hospital to be treatment for minor injuries suffered in the crash before being booked on suspicion of felony theft, felony evading, vehicle embezzlement and two counts of hit-and-run, police officials said in a written statement. The parolee, who has an address listed in Nevada, was also being held on several warrants, including ones for bank robbery.
Thursday’s chase began when officers responded to Fry Steel Co., 13325 Molette Street, about 10:15 a.m. after receiving a report of a possible fraud involving the purchase of $12,000 worth of steel by a man later identified as Bartlett.
“As the suspect left the business with the product in the back of a 1-ton stake truck, Whittier Police officers arrived and attempted to make a traffic stop,” according to the police statement. But the truck continued on, and the driver threw what was later found to be a replica handgun from the truck.
The truck led officers through Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, La Habra and Break before getting onto the westbound 60 Freeway, where Whittier police turned the pursuit over to the California Highway Patrol.
The pursuit continued west on the 60 Freeway, with the truck driving erratically and at times on the wrong side of the road as it made its way onto the westbound 210 Freeway.
The fleeing truck collided with a CHP car and a civilian vehicle during the chase, resulting in minor injuries to a CHP officer and a civilian, CHP Officer Bruan Alvarez said in a written statement.
After well over an hour, the truck struck the right shoulder wall along the 210 Freeway in Rialto and went out of control before striking a dirt embankment and overturning, Alvarez said. Bartlett climbed out of the truck and surrendered to officials.
The most recent crimes attributed to the “Hills Bandit” occurred Sept. 8, when he robbed a Laguna Niguel U.S. Bank branch and tried, but failed, to rob a La Jolla Union Bank, according to FBI spokeswoman Emily Yeh.
He previously robbed a San Diego Cal Bank & Trust on Aug. 25; a Laguna Niguel Wells Fargo on Aug. 22; a Laguna Hills U.S. Bank on Aug. 8; a Carlsbad U.S. Bank on Aug. 5; A Lake Forest Citibank on July 25; a Laguna Hills Citibank on July 16; and a Laguna Hills Wells Fargo on May 6, FBI officials said.

*PHOTO: The “Hills Bandit,” is pictured in this surveillance photo during a robbery at a Union Bank in San Diego on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. The suspect, linked to nine bank robberies and attempted bank robberies, was arrested Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, after a lengthy police chase that led from Santa Fe Springs to Rialto. (Courtesy of the FBI)

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Norwalk man charged with series of bank robberies in Whittier, South Gate, Norwalk

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Prosecutors Thursday charged a Norwalk man the FBI has dubbed the “Cold Blooded Bandit” in connection with three bank robberies over the past two months in Whittier, South Gate and Norwalk, officials said.
Mario Marques LLanes, 27, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Bellflower Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
He was charged Thursday with three counts of robbery and three counts of commercial burglary for the alleged spree of bank heists, officials said.
Llanes turned himself in Monday to police in Whittier, where the most recent robbery occurred Sept. 17 at a Union Bank branch inside the Quad at Whittier shopping center, Whittier police Officer Brad White said.
The robber handed a teller a note demanding money before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash, Whittier police Cpl. Carlos Arroyo said at the time.
The serial bandit used similar tactics in the other robberies, which occurred July 7 at a Union Bank branch in South Gate and June 30 at a Union Bank branch in Llanes hometown of Norwalk, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The FBI nicknamed the serial bank robbery suspect the “Cold Blooded Bandit” prior to his arrest due to the heavy winter clothes he wore during the summertime robberies.

PHOTO: Mario Marques Llanes, 27, of Norwalk, is accused of being a serial bank robber the FBI has dubbed the “Cold Blooded Bandit,” linked to bank robberies in Whittier, South South Gate and Norwalk since late June. The bandit is pictured in this bank surveillance photo during a robbery at a Union Bank branch in Whittier on Sept. 17, 2014.
(Courtesy of the FBI)

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Serial bank robber dubbed ‘Cold Blooded Bandit’ pulls 3rd heist in Whittier

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WHITTIER >> A serial bank robber the FBI is calling the “Cold Blooded Bandit” carried out his third heist Wednesday at a bank branch inside a Whittier supermarket, authorities said.
The serial robber, who was given his nickname due to the heavy winter clothing he has worn during his summertime heists, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
The robber operated by passing notes demanding money to bank tellers, she said.
“In his demand notes, he indicates a partner is outside watching to intimidate the tellers,” Eimiller said.
Officials said the Cold Blooded Bandit’s most recent caper took place Wednesday afternoon at a Whittier Union Bank branch inside of a Ralphs grocery store, 8510 Painter Avenue.
Whittier police Cpl. Carlos Arroyo said the a man approached a teller just after 4:30 and displayed a demand note.
The teller complied and handed over an undisclosed amount of money, Arroyo said. He was last seen fleeing the area on foot. No weapon was seen.
0920_NWS_WDN-L-COLDBLOOD4The Cold Blooded bandit previously robbed a Union Bank branch on Garfield Avenue in South Gate on July 7, as well as a Union Bank branch on South Street in Norwalk on June 30, Eimiller said.
In the first crime in Norwalk, the bandit left behind a “hoax device” before fleeing, “presumably to threaten an explosion,” Eimiller said. A description of the hoax device was not available Friday.
The FBI described the serial bandit as white or Latino, between 21 and 28 years old, between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing about 145 pounds.
In the most recent robbery in Whittier, witnesses reported the robber had tattoos on his arms and on the left side of his neck.
Anyone with information can reach the FBI’s Los Angeles Division at 310-477-6565.

PHOTOS taken from bank surveillance cameras courtesy of the FBI.

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West Covina man arrested following Baldwin Park bank robbery

BALDWIN PARK >> A robbed a Baldwin Park bank branch Saturday before quickly being captured by police, officials said
Todd Edward Campbell, 48, of West Covina was arrested within minutes of the 11:14 a.m. bank robbery at a U.S. Bank branch inside a Walmart store, 3250 Big Dalton Avenue, Baldwin Park police Lt. Doug Parnell said.
Campbell approached a female teller at the bank and displayed a note demanding money, the lieutenant said. The teller handed over about $2,000 and the suspect fled, running north from the bank, Parnell said. A bank employee triggered a silent alarm during the robbery.
An officer rushing to the scene of the crime spotted Campbell, who matched the description of the robber, at Merced and Puente avenues, Parnell said.
Though he had discarded is shirt in an attempt to change his appearance, Campbell was found carrying a bag containing the stolen money, and the note used in the robbery was found in his pocket, Parnell said.
The suspect, who has a lengthy criminal history out of state,admitted to the robbery, Parnell said. Campbell told police he committed the robbery because he needed money for drugs.
The FBI was assisting Baldwin Park police in the investigation.
According to Los Angeles County Booking records, Campbell was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

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Serial bank robbery suspect arrested following Brea heist

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FULLERTON >> A serial bank robber dubbed the “Quad Bandit,” who had been linked by the FBI to 10 bank robberies and attempted bank robberies, is in custody following his most recent alleged caper in Brea, authorities said.
The prolific serial bandit, identified as Jonathan Wade Oechsle, 42, of Anaheim, was jailed Thursday by Fullerton police following his final robbery in Brea, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. He made his initial court appearance Friday at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
The Quad Bandit was already being sought in connection with nine crimes at banks in Los Angeles and Orange counties — including one in La Habra — since late March, officials said. The FBI have him his nickname because he started his alleged spree with four robberies and attempted robberies at Buena Park banks on March 22.
After robbing the Bank of the West, 311 S. State College Blvd. in Brea, Thursday afternoon, Fullerton police spotted the robber driving in a silver Chevrolet Cavalier, Brea police Lt. Darrin Devereaux said in a written statement.
“Fullerton officers pursued the suspect approximately two miles until he crashed into a curb in the 1600 block of Sjyline (Drive) in Fullerton,” Devereaux said. “The suspect surrendered to officers at the scene without further incident.”
Other robberies and attempted bank robberies attributed to Oechsle occurred July 23 in Anaheim Hills, in Anaheim on July 15, La Habra on July 3, and twice in Cerritos on June 16, according to the FBI.

PHOTO courtesy of the FBI.

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Boyfriend of bank Chino bank robbery suspect accused of West Covina bank heist

The boyfriend of an accused bank robber has been arrested on suspicion of robbing a West Covina bank, police said.
Two Bank of the West locations in Chino and West Covina were robbed on consecutive days this month.
The Chino location was robbed July 14 by a woman wearing hospital scrubs. On July 25, Rafaella Benoit, 18, of Perris was arrested and later charged with robbery in connection with the July  14 robbery.
On Wednesday, Chino police announced the arrest of Benoit’s supposed boyfriend.
Douglas Beale Taylor, 22, allegedly robbed Bank of the West in West Covina on July 15, the day after the Chino bank robbery.
Police said Taylor executed the robbery in the same manner as his girlfriend — by slipping a note demanding money and escaping with an undisclosed amount of money.
Surveillance video linked Douglas to the West Covina robbery, Chino police said in a statement.
Officers from the Chino and West Covina police departments arrested Taylor on Tuesday at his Moreno Valley home. He was booked into the West Covina Police Department’s jail on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy, police said.
“During an interview, Taylor admitted to robbing the West Covina Bank of the West as well as being the getaway driver for the Chino Bank of the West robbery,” according to police.

- By Greg Cappis

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‘Quad Bandit’ sought for bank robberies in Los Angeles, Orange counties

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The FBI is seeking a serial bank robbery they’ve dubbed the “Quad Bandit,” whose robbed or attempted to rob nine banks in Orange and Los Angeles counties since April, officials said Friday.
The bandit earned his moniker at the outset of his spree when he struck four Buena Park banks on March 22, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. Three of the crimes at Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase branches failed, while one at a Chase bank was successful.
The robber then showed up in Cerritos March 16, where he tried unsuccessfully to rob a Wells Fargo before successfully robbing a Chase bank later the same day, officials said.
The Quad Bandit robbed a La Habra U.S. Bank branch July 3, followed by an Opus Bank branch in Anaheim on July 15 and a Union Bank branch in Anaheim Hills on Wednesday.
“During the robberies, the suspect known as the Quad Bandit typically passes a note and makes a verbal demand for cash,” Eimilller said. “In some of the robberies, the Quad Bandit has threatened a weapon, or has appeared to have gestured toward what might be a weapon, according to victims.”
0726_NWS_WDN-L-WUADBANDIT2In a bank surveillance photo released by the FBI from a Buena Park crime, the bandit is seen holding up a piece of paper toward the teller’s window with the words, “bank robbery,” written on it.
The FBI described the bandit as white, 40 to 50 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, 150 to 160 grounds. he had dirty blond hair, a goatee and stubble during the crimes, during which he wore sunglasses and baseball caps.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles office at 888-226-8443.

PHOTOS courtesy of the FBI

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Authorities seek ‘New Hat Bandits’ in five bank robberies over past six months

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The FBI and local law enforcement officials are seeking two bank robbers dubbed the “New Hat Bandits” in connection with five Los Angeles County bank heists in the past six weeks.
The robbers are linked to two robberies in Monterey Park, one in Rosemead and most recently, the bandits have turned their attention toward two banks in Manhattan Beach , FBI officials said in a written statement.
NewHatMontereyPark1114“The New Hat Bandits are described by witnesses as black males who wear baseball hats that appear to be new,” according to the statement. “During the robberies, the New Hat Bandits enter the bank and make oral and written demands for cash.”
According to the FBI, the robbers struck Tuesday at Citibank, 2710 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach, as well as Nov. 22 at a U.S. Bank Branch at 3300 N. Sepulveda Blvd. in Manhattan Beach.
They previously robbed the Cathay Bank at 250 S. Atlantic Blvd. in Monterey Park on No. 14; the Pacific Alliance Bank at 8400 E. Valley Blvd. in Rosemead on Halloween; and the Chase bank at 459 S. Atlantic Blvd. in Monterey Park on Oct. 23, officials said.
In the first four crimes, only one of the bandits at a time entered the banks to carry out NewHatMontereyPark1023the robberies, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. But both robbers were seen during Wedesday’s robbery.
Authorities described the bandits as black men in their 30s between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall and between 150 and 170 pounds. A black Lincoln Navigator SUV has been described by witnesses as a possible getaway vehicle.
No weapons have been seen during the robberies, Eimiller said.
Anyone with information was urged to call the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at 888-226-8443, or 9-1-1.

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Men rob Monterey Park bank branch

MONTEREY PARK — Two men carried out a robbery Thursday at a Monterey Park bank branch, police said.
The heist was reported about 5 p.m., at the Cathay Bank, 250 S. Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
The robbers entered the bank just before it closed for the day, police said.
One of the robbers approached an open teller window and demanded money, according to the police statement. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash.
“Once the money was received, both suspects exited the bank and fled,” the statement continued. “The suspects were last seen northbound through the parking lot and out of sight.”
No weapon was seen during the robbery, and no getaway car was observed, Sgt. Paul Yniguez added.
Police described both robbers as black men in their mid-20s. One stood 5 feet 10 inches tall and was of thin to medium build, wearing a black and red Chicago Bulls cap, a red and black argyle sweater and black pants.
The second robber was 5 feet 8 inches tall and also of thin to medium build, authorities said. He wore a black cap, a gray sweater and black pants.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311.

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Bank robbed in Rosemead

ROSEMEAD — Two men fled with cash Thursday following a robbery at a bank branch Thursday afternoon, officials said.
The heist took place just after 12:30 p.m. at the Pacific Alliance Bank, 8400 Valley Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Ruiz said.
The robber demanded money from a teller and fled after obtaining an undisclosed amount, officials said. No weapons were seen during the crime, and no injuries were reported.
Officials described the robbers as two black men in their 20s, wearing black caps and blue jackets, Ruiz said.
No further details were available.

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