After a crash on the 605 Freeway and a brief foot chase, a man accused of robbing the same Los Alamitos bank four times was arrested Monday morning, authorities said.
The Los Alamitos Police Department arrested 41-year-old Keith Alonzo Smith Sr. on suspicion of using a knife to hold up the US Bank Branch at 10942 Pine Street at about 9:14 am.
Officials allege Smith, a Long Beach resident according to his driver’s license, is the man the FBI dubbed the “5K Bandit” after robbing the same location June 21, 2011, June 30, 2012 and September 12, 2012.
- Man Wielding Butcher Knife Robs Los Alamitos Bank
- Bank Robbed Twice by Same Knife-Wielding Man?
- Knife-Wielding Robber Hits Los Al Bank for Third Time in 14 Months
At about 9:14 a.m. today, a bank employee called the police and reported a man who looked similar to the 5k Bandit had entered the bank. The bank employee described the man as a heavy-set male African-American in his 40s, wearing a black baseball hat, black sweatshirt, dark sunglasses and a surgical mask and carrying a large knife. The man then showed the knife to a teller and demanded money.
According to Los Al Police Department Captain Bruce McAlpine, the weapon appeared to be the same or similar knife. Immediately after the robbery, the man left the bank on foot.
Although there was no vehicle description given to police, McAlpine said in a written statement, an officer watching traffic along Katella Avenue between Los Alamitos Boulevard and the 605 freeway spotted a person matching the man’s description driving a gray 2009 Dodge Charger at a high rate of speed west on Katella toward the 605.
When the officer attempted to pursue the vehicle, authorities allege Smith, the driver and only occupant of the car, had already entered the Katella-605 northbound onramp. While navigating the onramp, Smith lost control of the vehicle and crashed into an embankment of ice plant.
Smith tried to evade the officer on foot, but the officer caught Smith as he ran through the ice plant. The officer and Smith engaged in a brief struggle until back up arrived. After a responding officer tasered Smith, Smith was taken into custody.
According to authorities, Smith sustained minor abrasions, but was treated and released to police officials at the scene by the Orange County Fire Authority. The officer also sustained minor abrasions; however, he did not require medical attention.
About $5,000 was lost in each of the previous robberies. Officials said the loss in this particular incident is unknown; however, officers recovered several bundles of US currency at the arrest scene. Investigators from the FBI’s Orange County Bank Robbery Apprehension Team will be assisting with the investigation.
Smith was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery and was booked at Orange County Jail in Santa Ana.
No bank employees were hurt during the crime.
Stay Patched in! Check out some of Los Alamitos, Rossmoor and Seal Beach's other top stories here. | Like Los Alamitos Patch on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and sign up for the daily email with links to the latest local news.