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Man robs three Orange County banks in two hours, FBI says

August 19, 2011 |  3:53 pm


As the rest of Southern California was drinking coffee this morning and daydreaming about the weekend, one man robbed three Orange County banks in three cities in less than two hours.

The FBI is looking for the man, whom they have dubbed the “Triple Threat Bandit,” who robbed banks in Fullerton, Orange and Buena Park. He hit the Orange County Credit Union in Fullerton at 9:39 a.m.,  the Union Yes Federal Credit Union in Orange at 10:15 a.m. and the U.S. Bank in Buena Park around 11 a.m., according to the FBI.

The man, in his thirties with a muscular build, bright white teeth and freckles, passed a note to the teller demanding large bills, “100s and 50s,” according to authorities. He was wearing a white polo shirt and blue jeans, and possibly carried a black backpack.

Authorities said no weapon was spotted on the man during the robberies but cautioned that he could still be violent. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said that three bank robberies at once was rare -- occurring once or twice a year at most -- and that it was “clearly an indication of desperation.”

Eimiller said that as a policy the FBI does not release information on how much money was taken, but that the sums are low in most bank robberies. Anyone with information was asked to call the FBI at (888) CANT HIDE (226-8443).

The announcement came just as authorities nabbed another suspected prolific bank robber, this one nicknamed the “Tri-Cities Bandit” for suspected heists in Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena. Ernest Viana, 39, was arrested by sheriff’s deputies after being linked to what authorities believe was his 10th robbery, in Westlake Village.

Viana is suspected of having committed a series of robberies beginning in mid-June, including two Wednesday afternoon.


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Photo: The suspect at the Orange County Credit Union in Fullerton. Credit: FBI