Blue Note Bandit strikes 10th bank

Authorities suspect he’s supporting an expensive habit such as gambling or drug use.

January 05, 2010|By Joseph Serna

The county’s most prolific bank robber in recent memory, who robbed a bank in Costa Mesa early in December, has struck again in San Diego County, authorities said Thursday.

The man the FBI has dubbed the Blue Note Bandit robbed a bank in La Jolla Mission Viejo on Wednesday, said Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino.

That would mark at least the 10th bank the Blue Note Bandit has hit since Nov. 24, according to data released by the FBI.


Federal officials said among the banks he’s robbed, the bandit robbed a Chase Bank in Costa Mesa on Dec. 1. FBI officials said he robbed a bank in San Juan Capistrano the day before, as well as a U.S. Bank in Aliso Viejo the day after.

“He is the most prolific bank robbery currently being pursued by the FBI,” Amormino said. “I guarantee sooner or later, his luck will run out.”

Amormino speculated that the man is hitting so many banks in such a short period of time to support an expensive habit such as drugs or gambling.

The Blue Note Bandit earned the moniker by handing bank tellers a note demanding cash on a blue piece of paper in at least one of the early robberies. The notes often demand “large bills” quickly and threatens that he has a gun.

Though no one has ever actually seen the gun, Amormino said, “we should always assume he’s armed and dangerous.”

“We don’t know if he’s pushed if he’ll display it or not,” he added.

Wells Fargo bank has offered a $10,000 reward for anyone offering information that leads to the bandit’s arrest, FBI officials said. The bandit has been described as a white male in his 40s with brown hair, an average build and 6 feet tall. He may also have crooked or gapped teeth, authorities said.

Anyone with information can call the FBI’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 226-8443.

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