Authorities on Friday asked for the public’s help in identifying and finding a serial bank robber dubbed “The Luger Bandit”.
They also released bank surveillance photos.
Bank of America and Wells Fargo are offering a combined reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robber.
The FBI gave the suspect the moniker “The Luger Bandit” due to the gun he uses which was described as a silver German Luger-style weapon.
The bandit robbed a Wells Fargo in Granada Hills on Jan. 3, a Wells Fargo in Fontana on Feb. 8, a Chase Bank in Mira Loma on March 12 and a Bank of America in Corona on June 4.
He is also tied to an attempted robbery of a Wells Fargo in San Dimas on March 8.
During each robbery, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the suspect orders employees and customers to the ground, brandishes a weapon and demands cash in various denominations.
The bandit left empty-handed when he tried to rob the Wells Fargo at 925 W. Arrow Highway in San Dimas.
Deputies said an armed masked robber ordered everyone to the floor.
But once all the customers and the employees complied, there was no one left to hand over money. The robber left the bank.
Eimiller said witnesses have described the suspect’s vehicle as a charcoal gray BMW, 3-series with a sports package.
Bank surveillance photos show the the bandit wearing pullover sweatshirts with hoods as well as a face mask, sunglasses and black gloves to conceal his appearance.
He also carries a black bag with a strap during the robberies.
The suspect was described as a white man or Latino, 30 to 40, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet in height and about 200 pounds.
Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of the bandit is asked to call the FBI or dial 9-1-1. In Los Angeles, the FBI can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-888-226-8443.
– Ruby Gonzales
PHOTO courtesy of the FBI
TEMPLE CITY — A serial bank robber known to the FBI as the “Foothills Bandit” tried, but failed, to rob a bank Thursday in his third crime in the past two weeks, authorities said.
The robber, who already robbed a Glendora Union Bank branch May 28 and tried unsuccessfully to rob a Citibank branch in Arcadia Monday, showed up about 11:10 a.m. at Wells Fargo, 9635 Las Tunas Drive in Temple City, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Like in his previous crimes, the robber claimed to have explosives as he demanded money from a teller, Sgt. Ben Sahile said.
Unlike the previous crimes, however, the robber did not bring a device into the bank with him, officials said.
“He claimed he had a bomb in the car,” Sahile said.
The manager then emerged, and the would-be robber fled empty-handed, he said.
The FBI has described the “Foothills Bandit,” who earned his name because of the proximity of his crimes to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, has been described by the FBI as white, between 23 and 30 years old, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and about 155 pounds.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the FBI in Los Angeles at 310-477-6565.
PHOTO (taken from surveillance camera during June 3 attempted bank robbery in Arcadia) courtesy of the FBI.
LOS ANGELES — A serial bank robber dubbed the “Explosives Threat Bandit” by the FBI has begun serving an 11-year prison term for bank robberies and attempts throughout Los Angeles County, court documents show.
William Joseph Allen, 32, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty last year to six counts of bank robbery and attempted bank robbery. He was initially charged with eight counts, however two were dismissed under a plea agreement.
At his March 28 sentencing in federal court in Los Angeles, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez sentenced the convict to 140 months in federal prison, along with three years of probation upon release and restitution in the amount of $26,125, according to court records.
Linked to as many as nine bank robberies and attempted bank robberies in Los Angeles, West Covina, La Puente, Pico Rivera, Venice, Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey, the bandit earned his moniker for threatening to have a bomb, according to the FBI.
The robbery spree took place between November of 2011 and March of 2012.
In some cases, he left behind large manila envelopes with wires protruding from them, resulting in bomb scares, officials said. Though ultimately found to be inert, the devices resulted in bomb scares. Allen was also known to carry a handgun during his heists.
He was identified and arrested by Los Angeles police officers in April of 2012.
PHOTO: This surveillance camera image shows the “Explosives Threat Bandit” William Joseph Allen, 32, of Los Angeles during a Nov. 15, 2011 robbery at a West Covina Bank of America branch. He has pleaded guilty to six counts of bank robbery and attempted bank robbery and was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison on Thursday, March 28, 2013.
(Courtesy of the FBI)
SAN DIMAS – A serial bank robber dubbed by the FBI as the “Luger Bandit” ordered customers and employees of a local bank to the floor at gunpoint Friday, but fled empty-handed, authorities said.
The failed robbery took place about 11:25 a.m. at Wells Fargo, 925 W. Arrow Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Vicki Gregory said.
The masked robber brandished a handgun as he ordered everyone to the floor, the sergeant said.
But once all the customers and the employees, who were shielded behind security glass, complied, there was no one left to hand over money.
The gunman then fled empty-handed, and was last seen driving away in a newer-model BMW sedan with paper license plates displaying the word “Keyes,” Gregory said.
FBI officials said the same man is wanted for takeover robberies at a Wells Fargo bank in Granada Hills on Jan. 3 and a Wells Fargo in Fontana on Feb. 18…
A man arrested at the end of a chase following a La Verne bank robbery is believed to be a prolific bank robber linked to at least 11 heists in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties, officials said Saturday.
Dwight McGarrah, 29, is accused of a spree of bank robberies attributed to the “Don’t Even Bandit” dating back to Aug. 27, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
He earned his moniker from the FBI due to statements he made during the crimes, as reported by victims and witnesses, Eimiller said. The robber generally presents a note demanding cash to tellers while making verbal threats that include the phrase “Don’t even.”
His alleged string of robberies came to an end Friday after La Verne police arrested him following a 1:20 p.m. robbery at a Wells Fargo branch, 1487 Foothill Blvd., La Verne police officials said in a written statement.
Police caught up with him as he was driving away from the scene of the robbery, officials said. He was taken into custody after leading officers on a pursuit down the Foothill (210) and San Gabriel River (605) freeways that ended in a crash in the area of Myrtle Avenue and Live Oak Boulevard in an unincorporated county area near Arcadia.
McGarrah continued fleeing on foot but was quickly captured, according to La Verne police.
Following his arrest, investigators learned of McGarrah’s alleged connection to 10 other bank robberies.
They include an Aug. 27 robbery at a Bank of America in Ontario; a Sept. 7 robbery at a Citibank branch in Fontana; a Sept. 8 robbery at a Bank of the West in Alhambra, a Sept. 17 robbery at a OneWest branch in Covina; a Sept. 27 robbery at a Bank of the West in Rosemead; an Oct. 4 robbery a Bank of America in Garden Grove; and a Nov. 16 robbery a Chase bank in Fullerton, according to the FBI.
The bandit is also suspected in three additional robberies that took place between Nov. 16 and Friday’s robbery in La Verne, officials said, though further details on those crimes were not available Saturday.
McGarrah was taken to a hospital for injuries suffered in the crash, officials said. He was expected to appear for an arraignment in Pomona Superior Court Tuesday.
PHOTO: A serial bank robbery suspect arrested following a La Verne bank robbery and police pursuit on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, is believed to be responsible for a series of at least 11 bank robberies in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties since August of 2012. The FBI has dubbed the suspect the “Don’t Even Bandit” based on witness statement that he made verbal threats during his robberies which included the phrase, “Don’t even.” (Courtesy of the FBI)
An armed bank robbery suspect led La Verne police on a freeway chase before crashing his car and being captured by officers, authorities said.
The robbery was reported about 1:30 p.m. at a La Verne Wells Fargo Branch, 1487 Foothill Blvd., a La Verne police dispatcher said.
Officers soon spotted the suspect’s car — a gray or silver sedan — and initiated a pursuit, officials said.
The chase went west on the Foothill (210) Freeway, then south on the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway.
The fleeing driver exited the freeway and ultimately crashed on Myrtle Avenue, just north of Live Oak Avenue, in an unincorporated county area between Irwindale and Arcadia, according to initial reports from the scene. The suspect continued to flee on foot but was captured nearby.
Officers continued searching the area near where the pursuit ended for evidence.
No injuries were reported in the bank robbery.
Further details were not immediately available.
ALHAMBRA — Police are seeking two men who carried out a robbery Wednesday at a Valley Boulevard Bank.
The suspects, initially described only as two black men wearing bandannas over their faces, entered the Preferred Bank, 325 E. Valley Blvd., just before 11:20 a.m., according to Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson.
“They jumped the counter and demanded money from the bank tellers,” he said.
No weapons displayed during the robbery, and no injuries were reported.
They were last seen fleeing on foot.
The amount of cash stolen in the robbery was not clear.
WEST COVINA — Three men wearing ski masks fled with an undisclosed amount after a takeover robbery of a West Covina bank Friday, police said.
Two of the robbers were armed with guns.
The crime took place about 11:20 a.m. at the First Federal Credit Union, 2530 E. Workman Ave., according to West Covina Police Sgt. Preston. He declined to give his first name.
He said the robbers made customers and employees lie on the ground. The suspects removed cash from drawers in the vault, Preston added.
The robbers drove off in a white Toyota.
There was no description available for the suspects.
The sister of a recent Northern California homicide victim accused of robbing or attempting to rob eight banks — including ones in Arcadia, Temple City and Baldwin Park — was in federal custody Thursday awaiting trial, officials said.
Obiomachuckuka Njokanma, 36, of Michigan, was indicted Tuesday on eight counts of bank robbery in connection with the alleged spree, which took place between Dec. 28 and Jan. 12, according to FBI officials and court documents.
Officials said Njokanma also admitted being responsible for a Dec. 27 Modesto bank robbery for which she has not yet been charged.
Her alleged San Gabriel Valley crimes include a Jan. 4 robbery at the Foothill Federal Credit Union, 30 S. First Ave. in Arcadia; a failed Jan. 10 robbery at a Wells Fargo, 11460 Merced Ave. in Baldwin Park; and a Jan. 10 robbery at a Bank of the West, 9934 E. Las Tunas Drive in Temple City.
She was arrested Jan. 14 by by Los Angeles police, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
According to the indictment, “Njokanma repeatedly apologized for committing the bank robberies. She explained that her sister was recently discovered murdered in Modesto, California. She admitted that the very first bank she robbed was in Modesto.”
A search of public records shows that Njokanma is a relative of Eldoris Graham, 28, of Modesto, who was found slain in her hometown Jan. 11.
Graham’s boyfriend, 36-year-old Anthony Coxum, was not cooperating with investigators and gave inconsistent statements to detectives, but was not initially arrested in connection with the killing, Modesto police officials said in a written statement.
Coxum was being held on suspicion of unrelated probation violations in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as the investigation continued, Modesto police added. He was driving Graham’s car when arrested.
Graham was reported missing by her mother on Dec. 15, and her body was found Jan. 11, officials said.
FBI investigators had been referring to the serial robber as the “60 Second Bandit” due to statements she made during the robberies indicating she wanted to get the money and be gone within 60 seconds, Eimiller said. But officials had not yet gone public with the moniker.
During the robberies, Njokanma handed tellers notes threatening to shoot them or others in the bank if they didn’t quickly hand over large-denomination bills, according to court documents. She would often wear a baseball cap or a wig.
In all, the eight robberies Njokanma is charged with allegedly netted her $20,001.
In addition to the three San Gabriel Valley crimes, robberies linked to Njokanma also include a Dec. 28 robbery at the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists-Screen Actors Guild Credit Union in Burbank; a Dec. 31 heist at a U.S. Bank in Bell; a failed Jan. 8 robbery at a Wells Fargo branch at 3800 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles; a Jan. 9 robbery at the First Financial Credit Union, 5115 Wilshire Ave. in Los Angeles; and a Jan. 12 robbery at a Citibank, 270 N. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles.
BANK SURVEILLANCE PHOTOS of Baldwin Park attempted robbery (above) and Temple City robbery (below) courtesy of the FBI.
The FBI has released bank surveillance photos from a Monday robbery at a Chase branch on Huntintgon Drive.