Crime - Sacto 911

FBI seeks ‘AK-47 Bandit’ linked to 2012 bank robbery try in Sacramento

A $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man armed with an assault rifle who is linked to an attempted bank robbery in Sacramento in 2012, as well as bank robberies in multiple states.

Dubbed the “AK-47 Bandit” by law enforcement officials, the man shot and wounded a Chino police officer after robbing the California Bank and Trust in the Southern California community on Feb. 29, 2012. The same man is believed to have robbed the Bank of the West in the 1000 block of Helen Power Drive in Vacaville on March 12, 2012, three days after the attempted robbery at Tri Counties Bank in the 1700 block of Challenge Way in Sacramento.

Most recently, the man was linked to the Aug. 22, 2014, robbery at a First Nebraska Bank in Nebraska City, Neb.

In the February 2012 Chino robbery, the man, described by witnesses as white, 25 to 40 years old with a stocky build, robbed the bank and was fleeing when he was spotted by a police officer patrolling the area. The suspect fired on the officer, seriously wounding him. During and following the robbery, the suspect wore body armor over a dark-colored, collared short-sleeved shirt, blue pants and a ski mask covering his face, according to an FBI news release.

Before the Chino robbery, a male had telephoned a threat to the 911 dispatch center from a pay phone in the vicinity of the bank. Investigators believe this was a diversionary tactic to delay officers responding to the bank robbery.

In Chino, Sacramento and Vacaville, the suspect is believed to have used a dark gray, four-door Nissan Maxima with tinted windows.

The same man is suspected in bank robberies that occurred in 2012 in Idaho and Washington state.

Investigators say the man is proficient with an assault weapon and will not hesitate to shoot someone to avoid capture. In addition, they say he has demonstrated the ability and willingness to travel interstate to commit crimes.

Law enforcement officials ask people to consider whether they know someone with access to an AK-47 with a drum magazine; who has access to body armor with “Sheriff” written on the back, or who takes an interest in law enforcement gear; and who traveled extensively between February and November 2012, especially in California, Washington and Idaho, and more recently in Nebraska.

The reward of up to $100,000 is being offered collectively by multiple entities: FBI, up to $50,000; city of Chino, up to $20,000; East Idaho Credit Union, city of Rexburg, Idaho, up to $20,000; and California Bank and Trust, up to $10,000. Authorities note that each entity offering reward money has a separate set of criteria that must be met for the reward to be paid.

The case is being jointly investigated by the FBI, the Sacramento Police Department and police departments in the other jurisdictions where the robberies occurred.

Anyone with information regarding the robberies may call the FBI’s major case contact center at (800) 225-5324, or the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office at (916) 481-9110. Tips also may be submitted online to tips.fbi.gov.

Surveillance photographs and video are available at https://bankrobbers.fbi.gov/robbers-container/2014-09-17.5047873315.

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