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East Valley Focus

STUDIO CITY : Police Seek 'I Spy' Bandits in Robberies

March 24, 1995|L.D. STRAUB

Two bank robbers--dubbed the "I Spy" bandits after the characters of a 1960s TV show--are being sought in connection with 16 robberies, including four at a single Studio City bank, FBI officials said Thursday.

The two men--one white, one African American--have made a habit of returning to the same banks, committing the 16 robberies at seven banks, two of them in the San Fernando Valley, said FBI spokesperson Vikki Medrano.

The two men are described as clean-cut and polite, in their early to mid-20s, Medrano said. Although a witness to one of the robberies claimed to see a handgun tucked into a suspect's waistband, neither of the men have brandished a weapon or threatened witnesses during the robberies, she said.

The team appears to have a system of alternating roles in consecutive robberies, officials said. One of them enters the bank, handing the teller a note demanding the money, while the other man waits outside in a getaway car. Other times, they reverse roles.

"Apparently they are quite a team," Medrano said. "In the surveillance tapes, we noticed that in two consecutive robberies, one of them came in the first time wearing this outfit. Then, in the next robbery, the other guy came in the exact same clothes the first guy had worn, down to every last detail."

The pair were named the "I Spy" bandits after the TV show starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby, who played tennis pros who worked secretly for the CIA.

The two robbers have struck four times at the Home Savings of America bank in Studio City. The City National Bank in Sherman Oaks has also been hit twice. The pair are also suspected of committing five other robberies in mid-town, West Hollywood and West Los Angeles, authorities said.

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