Snoqualmie Valley Record


Upping the ante: FBI renews search for AK-47 bandit who hit NB bank, offers $100K reward

Snoqualmie Valley Record Editor
January 22, 2013 · 3:49 PM

North Bend Police Chief Mark Toner, center, spoke with Chino Police Chief Miles Pruitt and FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for Los Angeles Bill Lewis at a press conference announcing a $100,000 reward for information on the AK-47 Bandit. / Courtesy photo

As law enforcement followed the trail of the armed bank robber called the AK-47 Bandit, who robbed North Bend’s Chase bank last July 6, the amount of reward money has increased.

On Wednesday, January 16, at a press conference in Chino, Calif., the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced an unprecedented reward of $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the man, described as white, 25 to 40 years old, between 5’10” and 6’ tall and with a stocky build.

The AK-47 Bandit is suspected in a series of five armed robberies in California, Washington and Idaho, and of shooting and severely injuring a Chino Police officer. The attacks on these banks were similar, involving a masked man, armed with an assault rifle, similar to an AK-47, with a sling and drum magazine, taking over the bank. In Chino, the suspect wore body armor and as he left the scene, he shot a police officer responding to the alarm.  No injuries were reported in any of the other incidents.

He is believed to be responsible for the following incidents:

Feb. 29, California Bank and Trust in Chino — Police believe he phoned in a threat from a payphone near the bank, to create a diversion and slow police response to the bank alarm. He left the scene in a vehicle described as a dark gray Nissan Maxima with four doors and tinted windows.

March 9, Tri Counties Bank in Sacramento — No money was taken from the bank during this attempt, but police believe the suspect used a vehicle matching the description of the Nissan.

March 12, Bank of the West in Vacaville — The Nissan was also used in this incident.

July 6, Chase Bank in North Bend — Witnesses said the suspect had a loud, deep voice with no obvious accent, and he threatened to shoot the tellers if they didn’t hurry. Surveillance cameras showed his escape vehicle was a reddish brown Jeep Patriot or Liberty, possibly with an out-of-state license plate.

Nov. 7, East Idaho Credit Union in Rexburg, Idaho — Witnesses reported he carried what may have been an assault rifle and ordered the employees and customers into the bank vault. He fled in a dark blue sedan with tinted windows. According to media reports on the incident, he nearly collided with one vehicle as he escaped, and was last seen driving south on South Yellowstone Highway.

This case is being jointly investigated by the Chino, Rexburg, Vacaville, Sacramento and North Bend Police Departments, as well as the FBI. North Bend’s Chief of Police Mark Toner was part of the conference announcing the campaign to increase publicity on the bank robber, along with FBI Assistant Director in Charge in Los Angeles, Bill Lewis; Chino Police Department Chief Miles Pruitt; and Rexburg, Idaho, Chief of Police Shane Turman.

Anyone with information about these incidents or the identity or whereabouts of this suspect is urged to contact investigators at the toll-free number dedicated to this case, 1-855-9-BANDIT or send an e-mail message to  bandit@chinopd.org.

The $100,000 reward is being offered collectively by several entities, each with its own criteria for the reward. The FBI is offering $50,000; the city of Chino, $20,000, California Bank & Trust, $10,000; and the East Idaho Credit Union, $20,000.

Learn more at www.chinopd.org.

Courtesy photo

Footage from North Bend’s Chase Bank shows the “AK47 Bandit” suspected in last year’s hold-up.


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