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FBI seeks 'sports bike bandit' in heists at seven banks

February 5, 2010 |  3:31 pm

The FBI has released photos of the helmeted "sports bike bandit" believed responsible for robbing seven banks, mostly in southern L.A. County, and making his getaway on a red motorcycle.

The latest in the string of robberies that started in 2008 occurred Jan. 26 at the Cal National Bank on Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. The robber has hit five other banks in Long Beach, Los Alamitos and Rancho Palos Verdes and made an attempt at a bank in Pasadena.

"This is an unusual series because in most cases the majority of bank robbers are feeding a drug or gambling habit and will continue to rob banks until they're caught ... and they generally do get caught," Eimiller said. "This person started robbing in late 2008 and continued throughout early 2009, stopped in February, and we had not seen him in 10 months."

He appeared again in December at a Citibank in Long Beach. The suspect is described as a white or Latino with a deep voice, 30 to 40 years old, 150 to 160 pounds and 5 feet, 5 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches tall.

He has brandished a semiautomatic handgun or a revolver during holdups, telling victims to put their hands on the counter or to lie on the floor, Eimiller said. She said he cursed at victims and was violent. During one of his earlier robberies, he took an employee hostage when a teller took too long to comply with his demand for money.

FBI agents believe a single man is responsible for all the crimes and said his distinctive gear may help identify him.

The man has been seen wearing black motorcycle clothing, colored bandannas and either a black or orange-tone helmet. There may be black tape on the orange helmet, as well, and the man may have been wearing body armor.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call 888-CANT-HIDE. A monetary reward is being offered for information leading to his capture, Eimiller said.

-- Amina Khan

Photo: Surveillance video of the "sports bike bandit." Credit: FBI.