RIVERSIDE >> A suspected serial bank robber the FBI is calling the “We’re Listening Bandit,” accused of six bank robberies and attempted bank robberies throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, is behind bars after police in Riverside found and arrested him this week, authorities said.
Jeffery Tuli, 33, of San Bernardino is suspected in six bank robberies and attempted bank robberies throughout the region, as well as two additional robberies in Moreno Valley since late-June, according to Moreno Valley police and FBI officials.
Moreno Valley police tracked him down and arrested him about 3 p.m. Thursday in a parking lot in the 8900 block of Trautwein Road, Moreno Valley police Sgt. Aaron Kent said in a written statement.
“Several items of evidence were located in Tuli’s vehicle,” he said, but did not elaborate.
Tuli began his alleged crime spree in on June 21 with a failed robbery at a Wells Fargo branch in Highland, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
He then robbed a Fontana U.S. Bank on July 9 and a Moreno Valley Chase bank on July 12, Eimiller said. The “We’re Listening Bandit” then tried, but failed, to rob a Whittier Wells Fargo branch on July 13 before successfully robbing a Wells Fargo in Moreno Valley on July 14, and a Riverside Union Bank on the same say, she said.
The one-man crime wave continued Wednesday, when Tuli robbed two people at gunpoint as they sat in a car in Moreno Valley, Kent said. Twenty minutes later, he robbed a Moreno Valley business at gunpoint.
Moreno Valley police identified Tuli as a suspect in the crimes in their jurisdiction and learned that the same man was sought in connection with other robberies throughout Southern California, Kent said.
The “We’re Listening Bandit” earned his moniker due to demand notes passed to tellers during the bank robberies, threatening that he or “others” will be watching the victims, Eimiller said.
According to Riverside County booking records, Tuli was being held in lieu of $1 million pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Riverside Hall of Justice.
PHOTOS: [TOP] Booking mug of Jeffery Tuli, 33, of San Bernardino, courtesy of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department. [BELOW] Bank surveillance photo courtesy of the FBI.
The FBI is hunting a new serial bank robber who’s embarked on a spate of six bank robberies and attempted bank robberies throughout Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties in recent weeks.
The “We’re Listening Bandit,” as he’s been christened by the FBI, has showed up at bank Whittier, Fontana, Highland, Moreno Valley and Riverside since late-June, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. The serial robber generally passes a note to bank tellers demanding money and stating that he and others may be “listening” and following them, Eimiller said.
He claims to be armed with a bomb or a gun, and was seen carrying one in an envelope during at least once of the crimes, officials said.
The robber’s notes also make statements such as, “Dot not move, be quick and quiet,” she said.
Crimes linked to the unidentified suspect include a July 14 robbery at a Union Bank in Riverside; another robbery at a Moreno Valley Wells Fargo the same day; a failed robbery at a Whittier Wells Fargo branch on July 13; a robbery at a Moreno Valley Chase bank on July 12; a robbery at a Fontana U.S. Bank branch on July 9; and a failed heist at a Highland Wells Fargo branch on June 21.
Investigators described the bandit as a black or Latino man in his 30s, of average to heavy build, with a scruffy beard. He wore sunglasses and various hats during the crimes.
Anyone with information can reach the FBI’s Los Angeles office at 888-226-8443.
WHITTIER >> An armed man tried to rob a bank branch inside a Whittier supermarket Wednesday, but ultimately fled empty-handed, authorities said.
The failed crime took place about 6:15 p.m. at a Wells Fargo branch inside of a Ralphs at Whittier Boulevard and Colima Road, Whittier police Lt. Jay Tatman said.
“The suspect came up posing as a customer, waited his turn, then passed a note demanding money,” the lieutenant said.
The would-be robber also brandished a handgun, which he carried inside a manila envelope.
But the gunman apparently became nervous and fled the bank without receiving any money, Tatman said. A bullet-proof barrier separates the bank tellers from the customer area at the bank branch.
Police described the gunman as about 35 years old, with a dark complexion, wearing a white canvas fisherman’s hat, sunglasses, a royal blue long-sleeve shirt and dark pants.
Detectives were looking into whether a getaway car was involved in the failed heist.
Anyone with information can reach Whittier police at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LOS ANGELES >> A San Dimas man who served as vice president of an Ontario tool wholesale company on Wednesday admitted to federal charges of defrauding a Pasadena-based bank out of more than $9 million, authorities said.
Chung Yu Yeung, also known as Louis Yeung, 39, served as vice president of Ontario-based Eastern Tools and Equipment Inc., U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
At an appearance Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles, Yeung admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and four counts of bank fraud, Mrozek said. He was scheduled to return to court June 20 to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder.
Between 2007 and 2012, Yeung admitted to setting up a network of shell companies, controlled by himself, to give the false illusion that Easter Tools was conducting far more business than he really was, officials said.
“Yeung admitted that the fictitious companies allowed him and other conspirators to falsely inflate Eastern Tools’ accounts receivable and financial statements in representations to East West Bank,” according to Mrozek.
After using fraudulent documents to boost his business’ line of credit, “Eastern Tools defaulted on the promissory note after East West Bank discovered the fraud, causing more than $9 million in losses to the bank, Mrozek said.
FBI and IRS agents conducted the investigation.
“This defendant went to great lengths to create the illusion of business that defrauded the victim bank out of millions, but law enforcement was able to penetrate the illusion,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “Crimes like these can threaten the stability of our financial institutions and therefore our national economy.”
Yeung was arrested in connection with the investigation in April of 2015. Alleged co-conspirator and Eastern Tools and former Equipment President Guo Xiang “David” Fan, 53, is also named in the same indictment charging Yeung. He remains at large.
PASADENA >> Police are seeking a man who robbed a Pasadena bank branch Tuesday afternoon.
The crime took place about 1:40 p.m. at a Chase branch at 2670 block of East Colorado Boulevard, just west of San Gabriel Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“The robber entered the bank and got into the teller line,” Luna said. “Upon reaching the teller window, he presented a note demanding money and saying he was armed.”
Police said the teller handed over an undetermined amount of cash before the suspect fled. He was last seen on foot.
He was described as black man between 28 and 30 years old, about 5 feet 4 inches tall, of average build, wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt and dark-colored shoes, Luna said. Officers searched the area but did not find the robber.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
A man in a black baseball cap embarked on a two-county robbery spree in recent weeks, holding up or trying to hold up Citibank branches in Glendora, Arcadia and Placentia in recent weeks, authorities said. Glendora police released surveillance images of the robber Wednesday in hopes of generating tips from the public as to the mystery bandit’s identity. He’s robbed in both Los Angeles and Orange counties.
“We’re hoping someone recognized this person,” Glendora police Detective Russell Ziino said.
The robber first showed up about 4:50 p.m. on Feb. 29 at Citibank, 401 E. Arrow Highway in Glendora, police said.
“(He) handed the teller a demand note that stated he had a gun. No gun was seen,” Glendora police said in a written statement. “The teller handed him an undisclosed amount of money and the suspect left.”
The serial bandit again turned up about 12:40 p.m. on March 4 at a Citibank branch at 1300 N. Kraemer Blvd. in Placentia, police said. He handed a teller a similar note and fled with an undisclosed amount of money. Just over four hours later, the same robber entered a Citibank branch at 100 S. First Ave. in Arcadia and attempted the same type of robbery.
“The teller in this case feared for his life and went to the back of the bank,” according to the police statement. “The suspect left with no cash.”
The notes presented by the robber were scribbled with messages to the effect of: “Don’t talk. I have a gun. Give me the money,” Ziino said. Though he always threatened to be armed, no gun has been seen during the crimes.
The yet-unnamed serial bandit is described as a white man, about 25 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 130 pounds, with green eyes and a scar on his right eyelid.
In all three incidents, he wore a black baseball cap, Ziino added. No getaway car has been linked to the robber. Anyone with information can reach Glendora police at 626-914-8250. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS: [TOP] Authorities seeking the serial bank robber pictured during a heist at a Citibank branch in Glendora on Feb. 29, 2016. [MIDDLE] Authorities are seeking the serial bank robber pictured during a heist at a Citibank branch in Placentia on March 4, 2016. [BELOW] Authorities are seeking the serial bank robber pictured during a heist at a Citibank branch in Arcadia on March 4, 2016. (Courtesy, Glendora Police Department)
ARCADIA >> A man fled with an unknown amount of cash after robbing a bank branch inside of an Arcadia grocery store Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The crime took place about 3:30 p.m. at a U.S. Bank branch inside of a Ralphs grocery store, 1101 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement.
“A man walked up to the window and presented a demand note to the teller as he verbally demanded money,” according to Lt. Roy Nakamura.
“With the U.S. currency in his hands, the male suspect walked out of the location and away from the area without being seen,” Sgt. Jason Davis said.
The robber was last seen walking south along Sunset Boulevard toward Huntington Drive, Nakamura said.
No weapon was seen during the crime, he added.
Initial radio reports from the scene indicated the suspect claimed to have a bomb, but police Wednesday night would not confirm whether that was the case. It was unclear whether the supermarket was evacuated or closed as a result of the incident.
Police described the robber as a Latino man, approximately 26 to 27 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 200 pounds. He was unshaven and had a mustache and a short goatee, and possible a mole on his right cheek.
The robber wore a black-and-white striped Fedora hat with a black and white band, a dark zippered hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Arcadia police. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
The FBI is also assisting Arcadia police in the investigation.
ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> An opportunistic robber snatched $1,700 from a bank counter and ran as a woman was making a deposit at a Rowland Heights bank branch Friday, officials said.
The crime took place about 11:40 a.m. at the Bank of America, 1501 Nogales Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Joseph Badaly said.
A woman in her 20s was making a deposit when she set the cash on the counter for the teller, he said.
The robber ran from the bank and a fled in a white, newer-model, four-door car, Badaly said. He was described as a black man in his 20s, about 6 feet tall, of medium build.
Deputies were still working to obtain any bank surveillance footage that may help the investigation.
ROSEMEAD >> A man robbed a bank along Valley Boulevard in Rosemead Tuesday, officials said.
The crime took place shortly before 11 a.m. at the Pacific Alliance Bank, 8400 Valley Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ernest Bille said.
The lone suspect entered the bank and handed a teller a note demanding cash, the lieutenant said. He motioned as if he had a gun, though none was seen.
After obtaining cash from the teller, the robber fled the bank, Bille said. A detailed suspect description was not available.
No injuries were reported.
Investigators from the sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau and crime lab responded to the scene, along with the FBI, Bille said.
TEMPLE CITY >> Three men carried out an armed robbery at a Temple City bank Friday, officials said.
The heist took place about 11:40 a.m. at a Bank of the West branch, 9934 E. Las Tunas Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ismael Chavez said.
One of the robbers brandished a revolver and pointed it at a teller while demanding money, the lieutenant said. They fled with an undetermined amount of cash.
Deputies described the robbers as three black men. One was in his 30s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, 185 pounds, wearing blue jeans, a baseball cap and a checkered shirt.
The other two robbers were both of thin build, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, wearing gray hooded sweatshirts, dark pants and bandanas covering their faces.
They were last seen driving south from the bank on Baldwin Avenue in a light gray compact car with faded paint.