The FBI and multiple police departments are seeking the public’s help in identifying two male suspects wanted in connection to a series of bank robberies in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, including two in Santa Monica.
The suspects are known to law enforcement as the “Backpack Bomber Bandits,” since both have been seen wearing backpacks and both allegedly threaten having a bomb, said Salvador Hernandez, assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles.
Although the two suspects have entered separate banks alone, they have been linked based on their methods of operation, as well as the fact that they have been seen with identical apparel, Hernandez said.
The suspects, a white man and a black man, make verbal demands for cash and carry either a backpack or a black gym bag, he said. Both men have threatened having a bomb and the white man has been seen with a handgun in his waistband, Hernandez alleged.
The black suspect is wanted in connection with a bank robbery in Santa Monica at the Union Bank of California, 2001 Wilshire Blvd. on June 2nd, and the white suspect is wanted for a robbery at the US Bank at 400 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica on July 9th, according to the FBI. Other bank robberies allegedly involving the suspects occurred in Hawthorne, Anaheim and Westminster.
Santa Monica police Sgt. Renaldi Thruston said a black suspect entered the Union Bank at 11:37 a.m. June 2nd wearing a black baseball cap with the word “Security” and a black jacket also with the word “Security.” The suspect allegedly said he had a bomb, asked for cash and fled with an undisclosed amount of money, Thruston said.
On July 9th, a white suspect entered the US Bank at 1:45 p.m. wearing a baseball cap, a multi-colored striped shirt and light-colored pants, he said. The suspect, who was carrying a dark duffel or gym bag, allegedly said he had a gun and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, Thruston said.
Bank surveillance photographs are being made available in the hope that the Backpack Bomber Bandits might be identified, Hernandez said.
The white male suspect is described as six feet tall, 170 pounds, and in his late 40s with prescription glasses and wearing a silver wedding band.
The black male suspect is described as six-foot-three, 180 to 200 pounds, and in his early 40s with a moustache.
Anyone with information as to the identity or the whereabouts of the men photographed at the banks is asked to contact the FBI at (310) 477-6565. Information can be given confidentially and anonymity can be guaranteed. Reward money is also available.