(FBI) – A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect who shot and wounded a Chino police officer after robbing a bank in 2012, and who has since been linked to four bank robberies and one attempt in multiple states using an assault rifle.
The FBI and law enforcement partners in multiple states and jurisdictions, to include California, Washington, Idaho and Nebraska, are announcing a nationwide publicity campaign and reward offer in an effort to identify this suspect.
Last month, the AK-47 Bandit was linked to a bank robbery that occurred on the afternoon of August 22, 2014, at a First Nebraska Bank in Nebraska City, Nebraska. During the robbery, the suspect carried a duffel bag and an assault rifle with a drum magazine similar to the weapon seen in his earlier robberies. The suspect proceeded to remove cash from victim tellers’ drawers and directed employees to comply with his demands. The suspect fled the bank with the stolen cash.
Agents and detectives are conducting a joint investigation to identify and apprehend the AK-47 Bandit. Since the suspect has traveled across a wide geographic area during this crime spree, investigators believe he may continue to travel extensively to commit additional crimes in any part of the United States and are urging residents of all states to take a close look at the photographs, and to listen to an audio file that has been made available to the public.
Investigators know that the suspect is proficient with an assault weapon and will not hesitate before shooting someone in order to avoid capture. In addition, the suspect has demonstrated the ability and willingness to travel interstate to commit crimes. What investigators do not know is who the suspect is and where he will strike next.
The public may wish to consider the following:
- Do you know someone with access to an AK-47 with a drum magazine?
- Do you know someone with a vehicle that meets the descriptions on the wanted flyer?
- Do you know of anyone who has access to body armor that has “Sheriff” written on the back, or who takes an interest in law enforcement gear?
- Do you know of anyone who has traveled extensively between February and November of 2012, especially in areas like California, Washington and Idaho? Or more recently, in Nebraska?
- Do you know someone who may have ties to one or more of these areas?
Investigators believe that someone likely knows this suspect, whether they are familiar with his physique; his voice (based on audio from diversionary call); his vehicle/s; or the apparel he’s wearing during the robberies.
A summary of each incident is listed below:
CHINO ROBBERY & ATTEMPTED MURDER OF OFFICER:
During a robbery that occurred on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, at the California Bank & Trust on 5455 Riverside Drive in Chino, California, the suspect was described by witnesses as a white male, 25-40 years old, with a stocky build. Following the armed bank robbery, a police officer patrolling the area came upon the bank robbery suspect who was fleeing the bank he had just robbed with the assault rifle. The suspect fired upon the officer and seriously wounded him.
During and following the robbery, the suspect wore body armor over a dark-colored collared short-sleeved shirt and blue pants, as well as a ski mask covering his face. The suspect was seen leaving the scene in a vehicle described as a dark gray Nissan Maxima with four doors and tinted windows.
Prior to the bank robbery, a threat was called into the 911 dispatch center from a payphone in the general vicinity of the bank by a male caller. Investigators believe the suspect employed a diversionary tactic in an attempt to delay officers responding to the bank robbery. Additional information and photographs can be found at http://www.chinopd.org.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ROBBERY & ATTEMPT:
The suspect is also believed to be connected to the March 12, 2012, robbery of the Bank of the West on the 1000 block of Helen Power Drive in Vacaville, California. He has also been linked to an attempted robbery three days prior on March 9, 2012, of the Tri Counties Bank on the 1700 block of Challenge Way in Sacramento, California. The suspect is believed to have used the above-described Nissan Maxima in both the Vacaville robbery and the Sacramento attempted robbery.
WASHINGTON STATE ROBBERY:
On July 6, 2012, a similar takeover-style robbery occurred at the Chase Bank on Mt. Si Boulevard in North Bend, Washington. The suspect was armed with an AK-47 style rifle equipped with a drum magazine. He had a loud, deep voice with no obvious accent, and threatened to shoot the tellers if they did not hurry. The suspect carried the cash by hand as he did not bring a bag. A dirty, reddish-orange Jeep Patriot or Liberty was parked out front of the bank as a getaway vehicle. It may have had out-of-state license plates with a prominent blue stripe across the top.
On November 7, 2012, a robbery took place at the East Idaho Credit Union in Rexburg, Idaho. At approximately 4:30 pm, the suspect entered the bank with what may have been an assault rifle and ordered the employees and customers into the vault. After obtaining the money, the suspect fled in a dark blue sedan with tinted windows and a red and blue license plate. He was last seen headed south on South Yellowstone Highway.
NEBRASKA ROBBERY: Described earlier in this release.
Anyone with information about this incident or as to the identity or whereabouts of this suspect is urged to contact investigators at a toll free number established for this case: 1 800-CALL-FBI. This suspect is considered heavily armed and dangerous and individuals who may come into contact with him are advised to contact law enforcement immediately and refrain from taking independent action to apprehend the suspect.
Bank surveillance photographs and video of the suspect can be found at: https://bankrobbers.fbi.gov/robbers-container/2014-09-17.5047873315. Information can be provided confidentially.
Billboard advertising has been donated to assist with the publicity on this case and donor companies will run digital ads in multiple states.
The reward of up to $100,000 is being offered collectively by multiple entities. It should be noted that each entity offering reward money attaches a separate set of criteria that must be met in order for reward money to be paid.
The reward is broken down as follows:
- FBI: Up to $50,000
- City of Chino: Up to $20,000
- East Idaho Credit Union, City of Rexburg, Idaho: Up to $20,000
- California Bank & Trust: Up to $10,000
This case is being investigated jointly by the Chino Police Department; the Rexburg Police Department; the North Bend Police Department: the Vacaville Police Department; the Sacramento Police Department, the Nebraska City Police Department, as well as FBI offices in each of the above-mentioned jurisdictions.