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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 13th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 28 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 28

FBI: Santa Maria bank robber connected to string of heists

By SPENCER COLE

The same man suspected of robbing Coast Hills Credit Union in Santa Maria on Sept. 6 is connected to at least eight other similar incidences since April of this year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“He’s had a pretty busy summer,” the bureau’s LA Field Office Public Information Officer Ann Parillo told the Sun.


STILL AT LARGE
The man suspected of robbing a Coast Hill Credit Union in Santa Maria on Sept. 6 is linked to a string of at least eight other bank heists on the Central Coast, according to the FBI.
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

The string of heists began at Montecito Bank and Trust on April 27 in Carpinteria, Parillo explained. Almost a month later, the suspect struck again in the small city, this time at Union Bank. Then the robberies began to increase in frequency: two in Newhall in June, one in Goleta on July 7, and another about two weeks later in Valencia. By Sept. 6, three more credit unions had been hit, including Santa Maria’s Coast Hills, bringing the total up to nine financial institutions robbed.

It is not clear at this time how much money the suspect has acquired from the heists, and the FBI declined to comment on his believed location.

Authorities dubbed the robber the “Seasoned Bandit,” due to his age. According to an FBI press release, he is described as a white male in his 50s or 60s and wears “casual clothing,” a hat, and sunglasses.

His tactics during the robberies involve passing a written note demanding cash. According to Parillo, the notes threaten bank tellers with a gun, but the bandit has yet to brandish a weapon.

The bureau’s LA office released images of the alleged suspect on Sept. 8 and called for the public to help identify him.

“Now with the pictures, we think we can make some headway [in the investigation],” Parillo said.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Maria Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are assisting in the investigation.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover noted that three of the robberies had occurred within the office’s jurisdiction and said help from the public identifying the suspect would be greatly appreciated.  

“We would welcome any tips—even anonymous,” Hoover said. “We would like to see him in custody.”

The Santa Maria Police Department did not return the Sun’s requests seeking comment.

Anyone with information relating to the robberies, including sightings of the suspect, is advised to contact the FBI’s LA field office at 310-477-6565. Tips to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office can be left at 934-6150 or at sbsheriff.org/anonymoustips. The Santa Maria Police Department is available at 928-3781.




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