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Holdup suspect caught in chase has prior robbery conviction

September 15, 2011 |  9:37 pm

Bank robbery suspect surrenders

A suspected bank robber who was arrested Thursday after a high-speed pursuit that began in Fullerton and ended in Los Angeles County is already on federal probation for robbing banks, authorities said.

Joe Pettis is suspected in a recent string of bank robberies in Orange County by the Triple Threat Bandit,  who robbed three banks in Fullerton, Orange and Buena Park, authorities said.

Pettis is on federal probation for a bank robbery conviction, said Sgt. Andrew Goodrich of the Fullerton Police Department.

Earlier Thursday, Pettis allegedly presented a note to a teller at the Popular Community Bank in Fullerton and took an undisclosed amount of cash, police said. He left the bank, got into a maroon Chevy Suburban and drove south as bank employees alerted police,  Goodrich said.

During the pursuit, Pettis drove west on the 91 Freeway and south on the 110 Freeway. He allegedly threw money out the window of his vehicle, according to authorities

As the chase moved into L.A. County, the California Highway Patrol took over the pursuit. The chase ended when Pettis surrendered on a freeway off-ramp. He was taken into custody without incident.

“We’re very pleased to have possibly solved this string of bank robberies” acting Fullerton Police Chief Kevin Hamilton said.

FBI agents were questioning Pettis in connection with the Orange County bank robberies.

Pettis was booked into the Santa Ana jail and is expected to appear in federal court Friday morning in Santa Ana.

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--Richard Winton

Twitter.com/lacrimes

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