A coalition of local law enforcement agencies is searching for a serial bank robber dubbed the “Rolled Sleeves Bandit.”
The suspect is wanted in connection with seven bank robberies, including two in Santa Monica, over the past few months. He is also suspected of targeting a bank in Hermosa, one in Manhattan Beach and three in Huntington Beach. Three of those robberies occurred in the past week, with two in Huntington Beach on Jan. 28.
Officers said the suspect appears to be working within a relatively small area, and while they don’t have any information as to why he is targeting beach towns, he is likely to have some reason for establishing the pattern.
In addition to the local agencies, the FBI’s Bank Robbery Apprehension Team, a joint organization with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, is working the case.
According to law enforcement, the suspect’s nickname was given due to his attire in the initial robberies. He is described as a white male about 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall; weighing approximately 230 pounds; approximately 35-45 years old; with a stocky build.
In a statement, the FBI said, “During the robberies, the suspect pretends to be a signatory on what he says is his girlfriend’s account and then proceeds to ask the victim teller to verify information. Once the teller appears to be distracted, the suspect presents a note demanding cash, verbally demands cash in various denominations, and announces that he has a gun.”
Santa Monica Police Department Detective Daniel Larios said the SMPD often works with neighboring agencies when crimes cross jurisdictional boundaries but bank robbery is unique because it is a federal crime that is often investigated by local agencies.
“For Santa Monica, we will investigate our two cases and I’m in constant contact with the detectives from other agencies,” he said. “We’ve created a group and are sharing information.”
The suspect is linked to the robbery of Citibank on Montana Avenue and OneWest bank, also on Montana.
The current investigation comes after two serial bank robbers were arrested last year in connection with crimes in Santa Monica.
Larios said bank robberies are no more or less common today than they have been at any point in his career and that Santa Monica doesn’t draw more bank robberies than other nearby areas.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8599, call the Los Angeles FBI office at (310) 477-6565 or visit http://www.labankrobbers.org/tips.htm.