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'Buddy Holly Bandit' Is Shot in Anaheim

Police seriously wound a man suspected of robbing 11 banks. His thick, dark-rimmed glasses prompted the nickname.

June 11, 2005|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

Police on Friday seriously wounded a man suspected of robbing 11 banks after he allegedly held up a Washington Mutual Bank in Anaheim.

His alleged accomplice also was arrested.

A veteran Anaheim officer shot the suspect in the parking lot as the man walked to his pickup carrying a bag of money and a box that looked like a bomb, Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said.

The man was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was listed in serious condition, Welter said.

The second man was being held at the Anaheim Police Department on suspicion of robbery. Authorities did not identify either suspect.

Authorities think the suspect is the man they have nicknamed "the Buddy Holly bandit" because he wore thick, dark-rimmed glasses similar to those worn by the rock legend. He often wore disguises, carried a dark bag and sometimes strapped a fake bomb to his body, officials said.

Authorities said the man first struck in January 2004 at a Wells Fargo Bank in Garden Grove.

On Friday, authorities said, "Buddy Holly" and his accomplice were under surveillance by Anaheim police and FBI agents about 11 a.m. when they entered the bank at Lincoln Avenue and Harbor Boulevard, about two blocks from the Anaheim Police Department.

Neither Welter nor the FBI would discuss the surveillance.

The man, wearing a brown wig, allegedly handed a teller a note and demanded money as his accomplice kept watch on the employees and four customers, police said. The man left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash, only to be confronted in the parking lot by nearly a dozen police officers, Welter said.

The officer fired after the suspect failed to follow commands and acted as if he was going to detonate a bomb, Welter said.

The officer, whom Welter would not identify, fired and struck the man two times, Welter said. No one else was injured. The second man was arrested inside the bank.

The officer was placed on administrative leave and the district attorney's office is investigating the incident, both standard procedures in officer-involved shootings.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department bomb squad found that the "bomb" the suspect was carrying turned out to be a box with wires, tape, batteries and a blinking light.

Friday's incident was the second time Orange County authorities arrested a serial bank robber in as many days.

On Thursday, James McKibbin, 34, was arrested by sheriff's deputies at a Costa Mesa motel after his photo was shown on television. He allegedly held up four Orange County banks in less than 3 1/2 hours.

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