Alleged Bank Robber Wanted by FBI Captured After Pursuit Crash

The man allegedly passed a note to a bank teller, robbed a bank and hopped in a cab before stealing it and crashing, police say

Several people were hurt and an alleged bank robber wanted by the FBI was arrested in Orange County Friday after he stole a cab, led police on a chase and crashed into another car, police said.

The chain of events began when a man walked into a bank in the 15500 block of Brookhurst Street in Westminster and "used a note to rob the bank," Westminster Police Cmdr. Bill Collins said.

When the suspect, identified as 27-year-old Justin Hayes, of Irvine, left the bank about 3 p.m., he got into a cab, Collins said. Witnesses told authorities about what happened and gave police the cab number.

Officers found the cab and pulled it over, and when the cab stopped, the cabdriver got out of the car. The alleged bank robber then jumped into the driver's seat and sped off, police said.

"Thank God he did this without the cabdriver," Collins said.

Officers chased the cab until it crashed into another car carrying four occupants near Fairview Street and Edinger Avenue. The suspect got out of the car and ran until police tackled him and took him into custody, Collins said.

Authorities believe Hayes is the suspected "Cal Bear Bandit" wanted for at least seven Orange County bank robberies since August, FBI Spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. He's been dubbed the "Cal Bear Bandit" because in a few of his first robberies, he was wearing a hat with the California state bear logo.

Three of the car's four occupants, including a 4-year-old girl, were taken to a hospital, and the fourth refused treatment. They were being treated for neck and back injuries Friday night.

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