DOWNTOWN — A serial bank robber linked to more than a dozen heists spanning one month, including two in Santa Monica, was arrested at a Los Angeles residence on Wednesday, according to the FBI.
Authorities believe that Brian Keith Robinson, 49, is the so-called “Salt & Pepper Bandit” who allegedly hit up 17 different banks in seven cities, starting with the U.S. Bank in Santa Monica on Jan. 5.
He was taken into custody by FBI agents without incident. Robinson did not live at the house.
The suspect is scheduled to appear at U.S. District Court in Downtown Los Angeles today where he will be charged with bank robbery, said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI.
Earning the nickname through eyewitness reports describing the suspect’s graying hair, the alleged bandit mostly robbed banks in the city of Los Angeles, including several on the Westside, straying occasionally to the South Bay and Orange County. He has also been connected to the Washington Mutual bank robbery in Santa Monica on Jan. 17.
“We’re happy that the man we suspect [was the Salt & Pepper Bandit] is now in custody,” SMPD Sgt. Renaldi Thruston said.
After entering the banks, the suspect typically passed a note to a teller and threatened to shoot unless his demands for cash were met. Investigators are looking into whether the suspect did ever carry a gun during the robberies.
“A gun was simulated in some of the robberies and a gun was threatened,” Eimiller said. “Obviously we treat those cases as an armed and dangerous individual.”
He most recently robbed the First Federal Bank in Beverlywood on Feb. 6. The suspect in some cases struck several banks in the same day.
Authorities said that Robinson appeared to be homeless and new to the Los Angeles area. There was no information available as to whether Robinson is married or has children.
Robinson was identified as a possible suspect following the robbery at the Washington Mutual in Seal Beach on Jan. 10. Investigators were able to generate several leads, one of which led to Robinson’s arrest, after releasing a description of the suspect and photographs.
Eimiller said the suspect was convicted of bank robbery in the past.