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FBI seeks 'El Camino Real' bandit

January 7, 2009 |  1:34 pm

The FBI has picked some unusual names over the years in its efforts to capture bank robbers. Remember the "Polite" bandit, the "Scarface" bandit and the "Irreconcilable Differences" bandit? But this is one for the California history books: the "El Camino Real" bandit. "

Perhaps because this particular bank robber had no distinguishing characteristics other than the dimple in his chin, FBI bandit-namers came up with a moniker right out of the History Channel.

The El Camino Real bandit has robbed six banks since Nov. 10 in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, Sacramento and Auburn. Hence the name, from the old California missions trail that roughly follows the same path.

No word yet if California history expert Huell Howser will be following the bandit's trail.

The unidentified robber, whose image is captured on various security videos, is described as a white man in his 40s who typically sports casual wear, including Hawaiian shirts, baseball caps and sunglasses. There have been no injuries, but FBI officials said that in at least one of the robberies, the man displayed a black pistol.

He robbed a Bank of America in San Luis Obispo on Nov. 10; a Washington Mutual Bank in Santa Barbara on Nov. 22; a Bank of America in Paso Robles on Dec. 4; a Rabobank in Pismo Beach on Dec. 23; a Washington Mutual Bank in Sacramento on Dec. 30 and a Wells Fargo Bank in Auburn on Jan. 5.

The FBI requests that anyone with information call their round-the-clock, toll-free number in Los Angeles at (888) CANT HIDE (888-226-8443) or the Sacramento field office at (916) 977-2245.

-- Andrew Blankstein