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'Goofy Hat Bandit' robs city bank

Man wanted by FBI for string of hold-ups hands teller note demanding cash, then escapes.

September 27, 2006|By Amanda Pennington and Paul Anderson

Authorities are looking for a robber known as the "Goofy Hat Bandit," who held up the Citibank on Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa this week and is wanted for up to 25 similar stick-ups over the past year.

The robber walked into the bank at about 1:45 p.m. Monday and handed a teller a note demanding cash, police said. Authorities declined to say how much money the robber took.

Witnesses to Monday's hold-up told police the robber is in his mid-40s, about 5-feet-9 and weighs 180 pounds, according to the FBI. Costa Mesa Police said he was wearing a fisherman-type hat. It is unknown if the man had a weapon.

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The Goofy Hat Bandit has hit a string of banks across the Southland since October 2005, including banks in Seal Beach, Glendale, Burbank, Century City, West Covina, Encino and Beverly Hills, according to the FBI. Witnesses have told authorities the Goofy Hat Bandit is 40 to 50 years old, is about 6-foot to 6-foot-2, weighs 180 to 190 pounds, has a muscular build and is white or black with light skin. He wears an array of hats, including a fisherman's hat (black or tan), a baseball cap or a fedora. Also, he has large prescription glasses and wears a buttoned-down dress shirt and dress pants.

The Goofy Hat bandit usually strikes before noon or midday and presents a note to the teller asking for 100s, 50s and 20s. Sometimes the robber has told the teller to go to the back of the bank.

In a bank robbery last week in Burbank he was seen getting into a waiting vehicle with a getaway driver, so authorities are also looking for a possible accomplice.

Local authorities are also on the lookout for the so-called cue-card bandit who is believed to have held up nine Orange County banks, including a Costa Mesa Citibank on Sept. 1. The cue-card bandit got the nickname for showing tellers a steno notebook with the demand for cash written on it. He is Asian or Latino, in his 40s, between 5-feet-6 and 5-feet-8, and weighs 170 pounds. He is stocky, has dark hair and was unshaven the last time he was seen.

Last week, the cue card bandit showed a bank teller at the Corona del Mar Wells Fargo on the 2100 block of East Coast Highway a note demanding cash. When the teller said the bank didn't have any cash, he left. Later Wednesday, the robber went to a Laguna Woods bank and that time made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

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