Like so many other multi-tasking Californians, James Joseph Lizotte bides his time in line at the bank by chatting on his cell phone.
What makes Lizotte unusual, FBI officials alleged Tuesday, is that he robs the bank once he gets to the front of the line.
Sometimes, authorities said, Lizotte hits up more than one teller at once, slamming his gun on the counter to show he means business.
On Tuesday, FBI officials and officers from the Torrance Police Department identified Lizotte as the elusive Cell Phone Bandit, in the hopes that the public will provide authorities with tips that could lead to his capture.
"He's violent, he threatens with a weapon and at times brandishes it," said FBI spokeswoman Laura Bosley. "We definitely believe he's armed and dangerous."
Lizotte, according to the FBI, is also industrious.
Authorities allege that over the last year, Lizotte has robbed more than 30 banks from San Diego to Sacramento, jabbering away into his phone in the moments before the holdups.
"He's definitely one of our most prolific and most wanted," said Bosley. "He's been lucky in that he's gotten away with it so many times."
Just what Lizotte is doing on the phone all the time is a mystery to authorities. "It maybe a ruse, for all we know," Bosley said.
The 30 or so banks Lizotte is suspected of robbing would put him ahead of even the notorious Kangaroo Bandit, whom the FBI had considered its most wanted on the local list of bank robbers because of his 25 crimes.
Authorities circulated a photo of a man they say is Lizotte. They described him as an ornery 36-year-old white male, a few inches under 6 feet tall and 170 to 180 pounds.
A professional hairdresser by trade, Lizotte is believed to have dyed his hair in various shades of blond or brown between robberies, Bosley said.
When not robbing banks, authorities said, Lizotte spends his time partying at gay nightclubs in Hollywood. Bosley said the FBI was taking the unusual step of releasing Lizotte's sexual orientation "because it could aid in apprehending him."
Lizotte also has acne scars on his face, often wears a baseball cap and has a bad attitude, according to the FBI.
"The suspect could be suicidal and has made comments that he will not go back to prison," where he served five years for bank robbery, an FBI statement said.