Police arrested two cousins from San Gabriel on Thursday in connection with a West Covina bank robbery the previous day, and were looking into the possibility the suspects were also responsible for another bank heist in Baldwin Park last week, authorities said.
Ruben Edward Mora, 48, and James Vincent Luevano were booked on suspicion of bank robbery following their arrests on Thursday afternoon, according to West Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The investigation began after a robbery unfolded about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Cathay Bank, 2672 E. Garvey Ave. South, West Covina police Sgt. Tony Cortina said.
A man entered the bank and gestured as if he had a gun, though none was seen, the sergeant said. He threatened to shoot a teller and demanded cash.
He fled the bank after obtaining $1,900, Cortina said. He was last seen getting into a car, which sped away.
“Our patrol officers canvassed the area for witnesses and evidence,” Cortina said. The obtained surveillance camera images depicting both the suspect and the getaway car.
As they continued their investigation, detectives found the car pictured in the surveillance images parked in the driveway of a home in the 5000 block of North Rosemead Boulevard in San Gabriel, police said.
They watched the car until a man exited the home and drove away in it, according to Cortina. Police pulled over the car and soon determined the driver, Luevano, had acted as the getaway driver in Wednesday’s bank robbery, he said.
Police also determined that the second suspect, who carried out the robbery, Mora, was inside the home, Cortina said. Officers ordered him out of the home and took him into custody without a struggle.
Officials recovered the allegedly stolen cash from the home, which is shared by the two cousins.
Investigators also found that Mora strongly matched the description of a robber who carried out a robbery at the HomeStreet Bank, 3119 Baldwin Park Blvd. in Baldwin Park, Cortina said. Authorities were looking into the West Covina robbery suspect’s possible connection to the Baldwin Park crime.
According to booking records, Mora was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail his initial court appearance, while Luevano was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
LA MIRADA >> A tight-lipped serial bank robber known to the FBI as the “Mum’s the Word Bandit” tried, but failed, to carry out his latest heist in La Mirada on Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The suspect received his moniker for his tendency to pass tellers a note demanding cash without speaking, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. No weapons have been seen.
He showed up about 1:30 p.m. at the Bank of the West, 12709 Valley View Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Manuel Flores said.
He passed a teller a note demanding money, he said. When the teller failed to comply, he left empty handed.
The bandit was already being sought in connection with a May 18 robbery at another Bank of the West Branch, 4501 E. La Palma Ave. in Anaheim, Eimiller said.
Officials described him as a white man of about 60 years old, with a white beard. During Friday’s robbery, he wore a blue, short-sleeve, collared shirt, a blue baseball cap and tinted glasses.
He fled the area in a white Toyota Echo, last seen heading south on Valley View Avenue, Flores said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711, or the FBI’s 24-hour Los Angeles-area tip line at 888-226-8443.
PHOTOS courtesy of the FBI
PASADENA >> A shotgun-toting robbery suspect arrested Saturday as he fled from a Pasadena bank is now believed to be a serial bandit known to the FBI as the “Dual Valley Bandit,” linked to as many as 11 recent bank robberies in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, authorities said Sunday.
Shownee Shon Smith, 41, of Pasadena was jailed Saturday afternoon following a robbery at a Pasadena Wells Fargo branch at 3701 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena police said in a written statement.
He’s believed to be linked to as many as 11 bank robberies since May 15, according to police and FBI officials. He’s been dubbed “The Dual Valley Bandit” due to his penchant to rob in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys.
Smith’s alleged robbery spree came to an end about 4 p.m. Saturday when he ran out of the Pasadena bank and into the waiting arms of police responding to reports of an armed robbery in progress, Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said.
“Smith was in possession of a shotgun and a bag containing money,” Pasadena police said in a written statement.
He dropped his weapon and surrendered without a struggle once confronted by officers, Grisafe said.
It was soon determined that Smith matched the description of the prolific serial bandit, sought in heists in cities including South Pasadena, Burbank, Woodland Hills, North Hollywood and Tarzana.
Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez commended the work of the involved officers.
“I am extremely proud of the first responders of the Pasadena Police Department who courageously faced a dangerous situation and were able to quickly take an armed robbery suspect, believed to be responsible for numerous bank robberies throughout Los Angeles County, safely into custody,” he said. “I am grateful no one was injured during this incident.”
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Smith was being held in lieu of $256,000 bail pending his initial court appearance.
SURVEILLANCE IMAGES courtesy of the FBI
PASADENA >> Police arrested a shotgun-wielding suspect accused of robbing a Pasadena bank branch onSaturday afternoon, officials said.
The heist took place about 3:50 p.m. at Wells Fargo, 3701 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena police Lt. Javier Aguilar said.
A bandit was armed with a shotgun when he entered the bank and demanded money from a teller, the lieutenant said.
But police arrived as the crime was still in progress, confronting the robber as he exited the bank, according to Aguilar.
Once confronted, the robber dropped his shotgun and surrendered, he said.
The suspect was described as a man in his 30s, Aguilar said. His identity was not immediately available.
The FBI responded to the scene to assist Pasadena police in the investigation, he added.
Anyone with information can reach the Pasadena Police Department at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
LOS ANGELES >> The FBI is seeking a serial bank robber they’ve dubbed “The Dual Valley Bandit” in connection with five robberies in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys in recent weeks.
The bandit, who earned his moniker due to he geography of his heists, is believed to be responsible for two bank robberies in Burbank and South Pasadena on May 15, and three more in North Hollywood, Woodland Hills and Tarzana on May 27, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
“During the robberies, the suspect passes a note demanding cash in several denominations and makes oral demands for cash as well,” Eimiller said in a written statement.
No weapon has been seen during the crimes, officials said.
The Dual Valley Bandit is described as a white man, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, 170 to 180 pounds.
He had stubble during the robberies and was neatly dressed in casual clothing, including a baseball cap and Wayfarer-style sunglasses.
Anyone with information is urged to avoid direct contact with him and call 911 or the FBI’s 24-hour Los Angeles hotline at 888-226-8443. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SURVEILLANCE PHOTOS courtesy of the FBI
PASADENA >> A man carried out a robbery at a Pasadena bank branch on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place about 12:30 p.m. at Chase, at Colorado and Sierra Madre boulevards, Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe said.
The robber entered the bank and handed a teller a note demanding money before fleeing with cash, he said. No weapon was seen during the crime, and no injuries were reported.
The robber was initially described as a white man, possibly in his 30s, with an unshaven face.
Investigators were looking into the possibility that the robber was the same bandit sought in connection with two bank robberies on Wednesday in South Pasadena and Burbank, according to the lieutenant. But Saturday’s bank heist had not been formally linked to Wednesday’s crimes.
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.
PHOTO: Police and FBI officials are seeking the man and vehicle pictured in these surveillance photos in connection with bank robberies in Burbank and South Pasadena on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (Courtesy, Burbank Police Department)
Police and federal agents are hunting for a man who robbed banks in South Pasadena and Burbank on Wednesday afternoon.
The bandit first carried out a heist in Burbank about 4:20 p.m. before turning up at another bank branch 15 miles away in south Pasadena 45 minutes later, according to Burbank and South Pasadena police officials.
In both crimes, the robber handed tellers notes demanding cash, officials said. No weapons were seen during the robberies.
The first crime occurred at the U.S. Bank, 1750 W. Olive Ave., Burbank police Sgt. Derek Green said in a written statement.
“He approached a bank teller and passed a note demanding cash, threatening to harm people inside the bank if his demands were not met,” Green said. “Fearing for his safety and the safety of others, the bank teller provided the suspect with the money.”
Police said the robber was believed to have fled the area in a black Ford Flex with an undisclosed amount of cash.
The bandit then showed up shortly after 5 p.m. at a Wells Fargo branch, 1000 Fair Oaks Ave. in South Pasadena.
Again, the robber handed a teller a note demanding cash, South Pasadena police Sgt. Spencer Louie said.
The female teller handed over several thousand dollars, and the robber was last seen exiting the bank.
Police described the serial robbers a man, possibly of Armenian descent, of about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 200 pounds. He wore a white long-sleeve shirt, a gray baseball cap with a white stripe along the brim and aviator-style sunglasses. He had a short beard and mustache.
The Ford Flex seen in connection with the Burbank robbery was black, with a silver top, a moonroof and aluminum paneling on the sides.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Burbank police detectives at 818-238-3210 or South Pasadena police at 626-403-7270. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Burbank Police Department.
GLENDORA >> A man carried out a robbery at a Glendora bank branch on Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The crime took place shortly before 5:20 p.m. at the Bank of America, 843 E. Arrow Highway, Glendora police Lt. Rob Lamborghini said.
A man entered the bank and handed a teller a note demanding cash, he said. The robber fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. No weapon was seen.
Officers searched the area but did not find the culprit, Lamborghini said. A description of the robber was not available.
No further details were available Saturday.
Anyone with information can reach the Glendora Police Department at 626-914-8250. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
ROSEMEAD >> A man carried out a robbery at a bank branch inside a Rosemead Walmart store on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The heist took place about 3 p.m. at a U.S. Bank branch inside of the Walmart Supercenter, 1827 Walnut Grove Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tom McNeil said.
A robber approached a teller and handed over a note demanding cash, the lieutenant said. He also demanded money verbally.
Though he claimed to have a gun, no weapon was seen during the crime, McNeil said.
The robber was last seen fleeing on foot after obtaining an undetermined amount of cash from the teller. No getaway car was seen.
Deputies described the robber as a Latino man, between 35 and 40 years old, wearing a blue plaid shirt, blue jeans and a black hat.
The FBI joined sheriff’s deputies in the investigation.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> Two armed robbers held up a South El Monte bank branch Friday, officials said.
The crime took place about 11:40 a.m. at the Bank of the West, 2041 Durfee Ave., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Oscar Lopez said.
At least one of the bandits brandished a handgun as they robbed the bank branch of an undetermined amount of cash, he said. They were described only as male suspects wearing black hooded sweatshirts.
The robbers were last seen fleeing the area on foot, he said. No injuries were reported.
Further details regarding the circumstances of the robbery were not available Saturday.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171.