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FBI links AK-47 Bandit with Chase Bank job, offers $20,000 reward
The man who robbed the North Bend branch of Chase Bank with an automatic rifle July 6 is believed to be the same man wanted in California for shooting a police officer earlier this year, as well as committing two bank robberies, and attempting a third.
Authorities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced July 18 that they believed the North Bend robbery to be the work of the "AK-47 Bandit," named for the weapon he used in two take-over bank robberies in February and March. The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the AK-47 Bandit, but the law enforcement officials urge extreme caution, warning the public that the man is considered armed and dangerous.
The suspect is described as a white male, 5'10" to 6' tall, about 180 to 220 pounds. His weapon is a black rifle, believed to be an AK-47, with a drum magazine.
Witnesses at the Chase Bank branch also said he spoke in a deep, loud voice with no noticeable accent. He wore a ski mask, gloves, baggy jeans, dark boots and a stripped button-up shirt. He had dark hair and "very hairy forearms."
The North Bend robbery occurred at 5:53 p.m., Friday July 6, when the masked man entered the building carrying the gun and threatening to shoot the tellers if they didn't hurry in handing over the bank's cash. He carried several stacks of bills (the bank cannot disclose the amount stolen) cradled in his arms and left the bank within a minute of entering it.
His vehicle was described as a red-orange Jeep, possibly a Liberty or Cherokee, which he'd parked immediately in front of the bank. The license plate had a blue stripe across the top, and may have been from out of state. The vehicle also had a rear-mounted spare tire with a multi-colored cover.
North Bend's first take-over robbery seems to be the fourth bank attempted by the AK-47 Bandit. The other incidents were Feb. 29 at the California Bank and Trust in Chino, a March 9 attempt on Tri Counties Bank in Sacramento, and a March 12 robbery of Bank of the West in Vacaville.
When fleeing the Chino bank, the bandit also shot and wounded a police officer responding to the robbery. No injuries were reported in any of the other incidents, including North Bend.
Other details noted about the suspect were that he hand-carried the money from the Chase Bank in North Bend, but had used bank bags in California, and, in Vacaville, he was wearing a a blue vest with the word "Sheriff" on the back.
Anyone with information about the North Bend robbery is asked to call Detective Mike Mellis in the King County Sheriff's Office, (206) 263-2086, or call 911. The local FBI office is in Seattle, and can be found at seattle.fbi.gov.
A surveillance video of the North Bend Chase Bank robbery can be viewed at: www.youtube.com/kingcosopio.