By City News Service
Authorities Friday sought public help to find the "Valley Bandit," a man who robbed nine banks in the San Fernando Valley in the past year, most recently a Wells Fargo branch in West Hills on Wednesday.
The FBI released security images of the suspect, described as Hispanic or Middle Eastern with dark unshaven facial hair. He is about 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, weighs about 180-200 pounds, and is about 25-35 years of age.
"During the robberies ... the suspect enters the bank and states that he needs to make a withdrawal prior to brandishing a weapon and verbally demanding cash in various denominations," the FBI said.
"The Valley Bandit wears a dark-colored baseball cap and dark clothing during his robberies, and witnesses typically describe his weapon as a revolver," The FBI said. "In some cases, the suspect has aimed the weapon at employees or customers, and has threatened to kill victims if the teller does not comply with his demands."
He has fled in various vehicles, including a white Mercedes-Benz SUV and a black Mercedes-Benz sedan, and he may have used a getaway driver, the FBI reported.
He has robbed the following banks:
-- on Dec. 18, 2012, a Bank of America in Northridge;
-- on June 14, a Chase bank in North Hills;
-- on June 28, a BofA in Winnetka;
-- on July 15, a Chase bank in Granada Hills;
-- on July 24, a Chase bank in Northridge;
-- on Aug. 26, a Wells Fargo bank in Reseda;
-- on Sept. 28, a Chase bank in Sherman Oaks;
-- on Nov. 6, a Chase bank in Van Nuys; and
-- on Wednesday, a Wells Fargo bank in West Hills.
Anyone knowing more about the case was urged to call the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department, or 911.