FBI searches costume store in 'Geezer Bandit' investigation
Authorities probing the case of the so-called Geezer Bandit have served a search warrant at a costume store in the San Luis Obispo area, demanding a list of all customers who bought a mask known as the Elder.
Based on surveillance video and witness interviews at the site of the bandit's latest heist — the Bank of America in San Luis Obispo, hit Dec. 2 — the FBI is now working on the theory that the prolific bank robber is not an elderly man but a younger man wearing an elaborate mask.
"The robber was described as someone who appeared to be an elderly white male, but may have been wearing a synthetic-like mask and gloves to conceal his true physical characteristics," the FBI said in a statement Wednesday about the San Luis Obispo robbery.
The statement also reminded the public that a $20,000 reward awaits the person able to provide information leading to the Geezer Bandit's arrest.
Unlike in the 15 previous bank robberies, a quick-thinking teller in San Luis Obispo slipped an exploding dye pack into the plastic bag that the robber used to carry off the loot.
A few steps outside the bank, the pack exploded, spewing red dye all over the robber, the money and possibly his mask and gloves. A surveillance camera shows that the robber "sprinted away across the bank parking lot" at a speed not normally associated with a man of advanced years.
He may have escaped in a white BMW, according to the FBI. In previous robberies, there did not appear to be any good clues about the Geezer Bandit's mode of escape.
After the dye pack exploded, the robber dropped a day-planner, which is now being examined at the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Va.
Photo: The Geezer Bandit, shown in 2010 surveillance footage, began his string of heists in August 2009 in the San Diego suburb of Santee. Of his 16 robberies, 11 have been in San Diego County; the others were in Temecula, Bakersfield, Goleta, Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. (FBI / July 22, 2010)