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Suspected serial bank robber strikes again

The man suspected of robbing three branches of Bank of the West in the region struck again Wednesday afternoon.

The alleged serial bank robber hit the Taylorville Road branch just after 4 p.m., said Grass Valley Police Capt. Rex Marks.

The same man, described as wearing a brown fedora and with a reddish-brown goatee, has been linked to a December robbery of the same branch and at two other Bank of the West branches, in South Lake Tahoe and Kings Beach.



“It was the same description,” Marks said. “He displayed a handgun, demanded money and the teller complied.”

The robber possibly left in a gold-colored vehicle that was seen heading southbound. A vehicle was stopped at about 5 p.m. on Highway 49 and Joeger Road, but the occupant was not the suspect, Marks said.




“I want to stress that nobody was injured,” Marks said, adding that anyone who sees the suspect should call 911 rather than attempt to apprehend him.

FBI offers $1,000 reward

The FBI has posted a $1,000 reward for tips leading to the capture of the serial bank robber.

On Dec. 22, 2009, a man robbed the Bank of the West on Taylorville Road just after noon. In a Feb. 18 robbery, a man robbed the Bank of the West branch in Lake Tahoe. And on March 8, a man robbed the Bank of the West branch in Kings Beach.

In each heist, the man wore a brown fedora, dark sunglasses and a fake beard.

Agents from the FBI’s Sacramento field office described the robber as a white man with a fake goatee who is about 40 to 50 years old, with gray or salt-and-pepper hair and about 5-foot-9 to 6 feet tall, with a slim build.

In each of the robberies, he allegedly displayed a handgun and used a black, eco-friendly bag commonly found at many supermarkets to stash his loot. The bag has straps and unidentified green writing on it.

In all of the robberies, the suspect approached the teller counter and made verbal demands for money. In at least one of the robberies, he made an attempt to disguise his voice by speaking with clenched teeth.

Witness descriptions and surveillance photographs indicate the suspect also wore a light-colored parka or rain jacket with a hood that has dark trim near the zipper and hood, a light-colored mock turtleneck shirt, black pants and black shoes. In two of the robberies, he wore black gloves.

Suspect in Brunswick bank

robbery arrested

A Grass Valley man was arrested Feb. 13 in connection with the Feb. 2 robbery of Bank of the West on Brunswick Road.

David Andrew Clarke, 44, was arrested in San Bernardino County after allegedly trying to enter a military base near Twentynine Palms.

Clarke allegedly robbed the Brunswick Road branch of Bank of the West just six weeks after the bank’s Taylorville Road branch was robbed. He allegedly held up the Brunswick bank just before noon Feb. 2 and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. The robber was carrying a manila envelope, in which he placed the cash before leaving on foot. He did not display a weapon or make any threats, and no one was injured.

Clarke allegedly has been connected to other bank robberies in California dating back five years.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail lkellar@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4229.


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