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'Big Nose' Suspect Jailed

Man who allegedly robbed a string of banks is arrested, along with his father, in Costa Mesa.

December 03, 2005|Susana Enriquez | Times Staff Writer

Authorities say the "Big Nose Bandit," suspected of robbing nearly two dozen banks across Southern California, was arrested early Friday along with his father at a Costa Mesa hotel.

Amir Hossein Saadat, 28, was arrested at the hotel after a four-hour stakeout, authorities said.

Newport Beach police learned Thursday evening that Saadat was staying at the Vagabond Inn in the 3200 block of Harbor Boulevard, said Sgt. Bill Hartford, a department spokesman. Also arrested was Hosseinali Saadat, 57.

A tipster had provided officers with a photo of the senior Saadat.

While the FBI and Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach police watched the hotel, a man who resembled the photograph came out of a hotel room, Hartford said.

Hosseinali Saadat confirmed he was Amir's father and that his son was in the room.

When the detectives called the room, Amir Saadat agreed to surrender, Hartford said.

He and his father were taken into custody about 1 a.m.

Hartford said police suspect that the father helped his son hide from authorities. He said there was no indication Hosseinali Saadat was involved in the robberies.

The "Big Nose Bandit" is suspected of robbing 23 banks since June: 13 in Orange County, six in Los Angeles County, three in San Diego County and one in Ventura County. Authorities would not say how much he had taken in total.

Amir Saadat has so far been charged with just one of the robberies, the U.S. Bank in Newport Coast on Oct. 20. The crime carries a penalty of five to 20 years in prison, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Amir Saadat had handed a bright-orange note to a teller demanding $100, $50 and $20 bills, according to the complaint. He also displayed a semiautomatic handgun in a moneybag, and left with $1,639, the complaint said.

Eimiller said Amir Saadat could be charged with other robberies. "It's a dumb crime for the small amount of money you're going to get, and a lot of jail time," Eimiller said.

He was being held without bail at Santa Ana City Jail, Hartford said.

His father, who was booked on suspicion of being an accessory, was being held at the Newport Beach City Jail. His bail was set at $50,000.

A $10,000 reward offered by the FBI may be distributed to several tipsters if Amir Saadat is convicted, Eimiller said.

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Under arrest

Police arrested Amir Hossein Saadat, 28, suspected of being the Big Nose Bandit, Friday morning at a Costa Mesa hotel. Saadat is suspected in 23 bank robberies in Southern California.

Number of banks robbed by county

Orange County: 13

Los Angeles County: 6

San Diego County: 3

Ventura County: 1

NOTE: One bank robbed Nov. 25 in San Diego County was not identified

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation. Graphics reporting by Susana Enriquez

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