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.
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)
SOUTH PASADENA >> Police arrested a fake-bearded serial bank robbery suspect known as the “Bluto Bandit” Thursday following a failed heist in South Pasadena, which officials alleged was the seventh crime in his multi-county crime spree.
San Marino police chased down and arrested Joseph Adel Noriega, 37, of Rancho Cucamonga following the 12:30 p.m. failed bank robbery in South Pasadena, according to San Marino police Sgt. Timothy Tebbetts.
“The suspect was wanted by the FBI for at least six prior bank robberies and attempted robberies throughout Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties,” he said.
South Pasadena police first responded to Chase bank, 1305 Fair Oaks Ave., after the robber arrived and passed a teller a note demanding cash, South Pasadena police Cpl. Shannon Robledo said.
“For unknown reasons, the suspect fled the bank without receiving money, leaving behind the demand note. A bank employee saw the suspect get into a white four door sedan and flee Southbound on Fair Oaks Avenue,” Robledo said.
San Marino police spotted the suspect’s vehicle driving in the area of Huntington Drive and Bradbury Road, Tebbetts said. Noriega led police on a chase before eventually stopping at Mission Drive and Hackett Avenue in Rosemead, where he was taken into custody.
The Bluto Bandit earned his moniker, taken from the villain in the Popeye comic strip, due to the false beard he wore during his crimes, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
She described the Bluto Bandit as the “most prolific” serial bank robber currently operating in the Southland.
Previous robberies and incidents of suspect “casing” attributed to the bandit occurred in cities including Monrovia, Duarte, Unincorporated Pasadena, Ontario, Chino, Norco and Fontana
“(Noriega) was still wearing the fake black beard when he was arrested,” Robledo said.
Generally, the robber would target Chase banks branches and pass a note demanding cash to bank tellers, officials said.
The “Bluto Bandit” is pictured in this bank surveillance photo during a June 16, 2015, robbery at a Chase bank branch in Duarte. (Courtesy of the FBI.)