January 17, 2013 | Back to: News

FBI seeks AK-47 bandit

A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered in exchange for information leading to the arrest of a suspect who shot and wounded a Chino police officer after robbing a bank last year.

The suspect has since been linked to additional bank robberies in other states.

On Feb. 29, 2012, the California Bank & Trust in Chino was robbed by a white male described as between 25 and 40 years old with a stocky build. The suspect was armed with an assault rifle, similar to an AK-47, with a sling and drum magazine. During and following the robbery, the suspect wore body armor over a dark-colored, collared, short-sleeved shirt and blue pants, as well as a ski mask covering his face.

Prior to the bank robbery, a threat was called into the 911 dispatch center from a pay phone in the general vicinity of the bank by a male caller. Investigators believe the suspect employed a diversionary tactic in an attempt to delay officers responding to the bank robbery.

Following the robbery, a police officer patrolling the area came upon the bank robbery suspect who was fleeing the bank. The suspect fired upon the officer and seriously wounded him.

The suspect was seen leaving the scene in a vehicle described as a dark gray Nissan Maxima with four doors and tinted windows.

Since the Chino robbery and attempted murder of the police officer, the suspect has been linked to additional bank robberies and one attempt.

The increased reward and publicity campaign was announced at a joint press conference Thursday put on by the FBI’s assistant director in charge in Los Angeles, Bill Lewis; the chief of police of the Chino Police Department, Miles Pruitt; the chief of police of the North Bend, Wash., Police Department, Mark Toner; and the chief of police of the Rexburg, Idaho, Police Department, Shane Turman.

This suspect is considered heavily armed and dangerous, and individuals who may come into contact with him are advised to contact law enforcement immediately and refrain from taking independent action to apprehend the suspect.

The suspect is also believed to be connected to the March 12, 2012, robbery of a Bank of the West in Vacaville. He may also have been involved in an attempted robbery three days prior, March 9, 2012, of a Tri Counties Bank in Sacramento.

The suspect is believed to have used the same Nissan Maxima in both the Vacaville robbery and the Sacramento attempted robbery.

On July 6, 2012, a similar style take-over robbery occurred at the Chase Bank on Mt. Si Boulevard in North Bend.

The suspect was armed with a AK-47-style rifle with attached drum magazine. He had a loud, deep voice with no obvious accent and threatened to shoot the tellers if they did not hurry.

In that incident, the suspect carried the cash by hand as he did not bring a bag. A dirty, reddish-orange Jeep Patriot or Liberty was parked out front of the bank as a getaway vehicle. It may have had out-of-state license plates with a prominent blue stripe across the top.

On Nov. 7, 2012, a robbery took place at the East Idaho Credit Union in Rexburg, Idaho. At approximately 4:30 p.m, the suspect entered the bank with what may have been an assault rifle and ordered the employees and customers into the vault.

After obtaining the money, the suspect fled in a dark blue sedan with tinted windows and a red and blue license plate.

Anyone with information about this incident or as to the identity or whereabouts of this suspect is urged to contact investigators at a toll-free number established for this case, 855-9-BANDIT, or send an email to bandit@chinopd.org.

This case is being investigated jointly by the Chino Police Department, the Rexburg Police Department, the North Bend Police Department, the Vacaville Police Department and the Sacramento Police Department, as well as FBI offices in each of the above-mentioned jurisdictions.

The Union Staff

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The Union Updated Jan 23, 2013 06:56PM Published Jan 18, 2013 10:53AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.