“AK-47 Bandit” Wanted in Series of California Bank Heists

A "heavily armed and dangerous” suspect is wanted by the FBI in several California bank robberies

By Mary Harris and Antonio Castelan
|  Thursday, Mar 15, 2012  |  Updated 5:48 PM PDT
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The "AK-47 Bandit" is wanted by the FBI. Because of the physical description of the suspect, the weapon used and the car used to escape, the FBI now believes the same man is responsible for multiple bank robberies.

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Caught on Video: Chino Bank Gunman

Surveillance video show a man armed with a high-powered rifle walk into a Chino bank before he opened fire on an officer outside the building.

New Surveillance Video in Chino Holdup

Police are hoping surveillance video of the suspect and the get-away car will help solve Wednesday's Chino bank robbery. Antonio Castelan reports.
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A suspect armed with an AK-47 assault rifle wanted for the Feb. 29 California Bank & Trust robbery in Chino might also be responsible for heists this month in Vacaville and Sacramento, according to authorities.

"We don't know who he is. We don't know where he is from. We don't know where he is going but he obviously shows a pattern of continuing to rob banks," said FBI agent Don Roberts, adding that the suspect may strike again.

The "AK-47 Bandit" is acting alone, but is still armed and considered very dangerous, Roberts said.

"The last thing we want is a shoot out at a bank," he said. "We need to catch him before he kills someone."

FBI Poster: AK-47 Bandit

The Chino robbery ended with an officer being shot and seriously wounded. Similarities in the suspect’s appearance, weapon and get away car lead police to believe the same man might be behind a March 12 Bank of the West robbery in Vacaville and the March 9 attempted robbery at the Tri Counties Bank in Sacramento.

In each case, the suspect was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle. He was dressed in tactical gear, a full-face ski mask and blue ballistic vest or green mesh vest marked "Sheriff."

The suspect is described as a white male, 25-40 years old, 5’10’’ and approximately 18-200 pounds.

In all three cases, the suspect left the scene in a dark grey, full-size sedan. The car is believed to be a Nissan Maxima with chrome trim and tinted windows.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to an arrest. Information can be provided anonymously.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call these phone numbers:

  • Chino Police Department: 909-628-1234
  • Los Angeles Field Office: 310-477-6565
  • Sacramento Field Office: 916-481-9110
  • Sacramento Police Department: 916-732-0100
  • San Francisco Field Office: 415-553-7400
  • Vacaville Police Department: 707-449-5200

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