A man suspected in a series of Westside bank robberies, including one in Venice, has been named to the FBI Los Angeles field office’s list of 10 most wanted serial robbers.
The suspect dubbed the “Explosives Threat Bandit” is wanted in connection with the Jan. 17 robbery of a Chase Bank at 1415 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice, as well as five other bank robberies dating to Nov. 15, according to the FBI.
During each robbery, the suspect left a device made up of electronic components and various wiring. The suspect stated that someone outside the bank would detonate the device, indicating the device involved explosives, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
After each robbery, a bomb squad from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to the bank to render the device safe, Eimiller said.
The suspect is described as a white man, 35 to 40 years old, 5-foot-10 to 5-foot-11, weighing 175 to 190 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, with a thick goatee.
In releasing its list of the most wanted serial robbers, the FBI’s Los Angeles field office reported that the total number of bank robberies in the Southern California region in 2011 was lower than in the past three decades. A total of 122 bank robberies were reported in Los Angeles County last year, the field office said.
According to the FBI, the decrease in overall robberies can be attributed in part to closer cooperation among law enforcement agencies, successful prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office and its counterparts at the district attorney’s offices, as well as a more proactive approach by banks in implementing additional security measures. In addition, media coverage of increasingly clear bank surveillance photographs and rewards offered have assisted in the effort, the FBI said.
Anyone with information on the “Explosives Threat Bandit” case is urged to contact the FBI or dial 911 immediately. In Los Angeles, the FBI can be reached 24 hours a day at (888) 226-8443.