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'Typed Note Bandits' Are Hard to Get a Read On

Crime: Bank robbers suspected in 53 heists share method of presenting neatly inscribed messages to tellers.

July 13, 1996|JULIE TAMAKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two busy bandits have used the same trademark notes to terrorize bank tellers across Southern California, authorities said Friday.

Opting to use neatly typed notes to make their demands and threats known has earned the robbers the dubious titles of "Typed Note Bandit No. 1" and "Typed Note Bandit No. 2," FBI spokesman John Hoos said.

Bandit No. 1 is suspected of committing 23 robberies, the bulk of which were reported in the San Fernando Valley, while No. 2 has been linked to 30 bank heists, many located in Ventura County and the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

Both robbers typically walk into a bank, wait in line, then present a typed note to the teller, Hoos said. The notes demand money and warn that the bandits are armed, although no weapons have been spotted or used during the robberies.

Once their demands have been met, the bandits place their loot in a folder or backpack and flee the bank.

"Whether or not they know each other, we don't know," Hoos said. "But one thing is clear, it's obvious they feel comfortable with what they're doing."

News of the Typed Note Bandits comes at a time when bank robberies are on the rise throughout the FBI's Southern California region, which includes Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Luis Obispo counties.

Hoos said that as of July 3, bandits had struck Southland banks 570 times, compared to 461 during the same period last year. Takeover robberies--in which armed thieves hold a bank's customers and employees hostage as opposed to confronting a lone teller--have also jumped from 82 last year to 101 this year.

In the San Fernando Valley, banks have reported 86 robberies this year, compared to 49 last year. Takeovers have tripled to 24 this year.

Hoos said Bandit No. 1 has been described as a white male in his late 20s, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall with light-reddish-brown, receding hair. In addition to the 23 local heists he is suspected of committing, he is wanted in connection with two bank robberies in Arizona.

Bandit No. 2 is described as a white male in his 30s, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, who frequently wears a baseball cap. Hoos said the thief began his spree on Feb. 2 and is suspected of pulling off his 30th heist last Monday at a Ventura bank.

Anyone with information on either robber is urged to contact the FBI at (310) 477-6565.

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