OUTSIDE LOS ANGELES -- Armed with a butcher knife, a robber known as the "5K Bandit" held up a local bank Tuesday, for the third time in 14 months, according to police.
Nicknamed by the FBI, the man demanded money from tellers at the US Bank branch in Los Alamitos at 10942 Pine St. at 9:12 a.m. while threatening them with the knife.
He used a similar knife in his previous robberies, police said. In this incident, surveillance photographs captured the suspect jumping over the bank counter with the knife in his hand.
The $5K Bandit -- called that because in one of his earliest holdups he demanded $5,000 -- robbed the branch on June 21, 2011 and June 30, 2012, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
In both holdups, he robbed the bank about 9 a.m., she added.
The suspect is also linked to holdups July 26, 2010, and Aug. 9, 2010, at a Bank of the West branch at 17303 Carmenita Road in Cerritos, Eimiller said.
Capt. Bruce McAlpine, spokesman for the city's police department, said they're not sure why the man keeps coming back.
“That will be one of the questions that will ask him when he’s eventually caught,” McAlpine said. “He’s had success there before and probably based on that success he feels that he can go back to the same place."
Witnesses described the bandit as a muscular African American with dark complexion. He appeared to be between the ages of 30 and 40, and wore a gray long-sleeve shirt, dark pants, gloves, sunglasses and a black baseball cap with a broad red bill. The photos show he had a goatee.
In Tuesday's robbery, he used a large black bag similar to a backpack to secure the money gained from the robbery.
Although no injuries were reported, several witness were shaken by the events, police said.
The suspect left the bank on foot through the west doors of the branch office and was last seen in the area of the CIF regional offices.
McAlpine said that the bank branch may want to upgrade their security system in light of the three crimes.
“I would think that it is certainly something that they should consider, but again as a private corporation, it’s really up to their top management (people) to make those decisions," McAlpine said.
“Perhaps they’re in the process of doing that.”
Police from Los Alamitos, Seal Beach and Cypress, as well as the investigators from the Los Angeles FBI office, responded to investigate.
The first unit arrived within four minutes of the initial call and detained someone matching the general description of the suspect. But officers decided he wasn’t involved and released him. The bank suffered an undisclosed loss of cash.
Anyone with information related to the robbery is encouraged to call Detective Jake Sorensen at 562-431-2255, extension 407.
City News Service Contributed to this story.
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