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'Explosives Threat Bandit' charged in string of robberies

May 5, 2012 |  3:31 pm

A man known as the "Explosives Threat Bandit" for threatening tellers with a bomb device was charged last week in a string of bank heists he allegedly pulled off in the Los Angeles area.

William Joseph Allen, 32, of Los Angeles was indicted by a federal grand jury on eight counts of bank robbery and attempted bank robbery, the FBI said Saturday. He was arrested by Los Angeles police in mid-April and is being held without bail in a federal detention facility in California City.

In the first two robberies, in November of last year, Allen allegedly left a package of wires and electronic devices that he said an accomplice would set off if tellers didn't do what they were told. This “establishment will not exist,” he warned in one note. 

The bombs were fakes, and authorities say Allen later switched to a more standard MO, brandishing a handgun.

The five robberies and three attempted robberies involved branches of major banks in West Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Venice. The amounts taken ranged from $15,534 to $245.

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-Bettina Boxall

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