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News Release

Friday, March 9, 2001

Media Relations

Public's Assistance Requested to Capture Several Bank Robbery Suspects

Los Angeles- On Monday, March 12, 2001, at 10:00 a.m., Robbery-Homicide Division will be conducting a press conference to request public's assistance in locating three bank robbery suspects. The press conference will be held in front of Parker Center, 150 North Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles.

Since May 31, 1995, a male, possibly Hispanic, has been committing bank robberies in the Los Angeles County area. Eighteen bank robberies committed by the suspect have taken place in the City of Los Angeles. To date, the suspect, who has been nicknamed "Ground Hog Bandit", is thought to be responsible for a total of twenty-two bank robberies.

Other cities affected by the "Ground Hog Bandit" are the City of Burbank and the unincorporated area of Universal City. The last four robberies in the City of Los Angeles have occurred in the downtown area. During the most recent robbery at the Washington Mutual Bank located at 400 South Hope Street, the suspect displayed a gun, which was concealed in his waistband, to the teller. The Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI have been unable to identify the suspect and are requesting the public’s assistance in apprehending the suspect.

Two additional bank robbery suspects have also been active in Downtown Los Angeles during the months of December 2000 and January 2001. A total of eight bank robberies were committed by the two suspects. However, the last robbery attributed to the suspects occurred on January 16, 2001. The suspects are not acting as a team and are separate bank robbers. To date, these robbers have not been identified. The Los Angeles Police Department, Robbery-Homicide Division is requesting the public’s assistance in identifying the two suspects that are known as the "California Mart Bank Robber," and the "Central Area Bank Bandit."

Any information regarding the identity of any of the three suspects should be forwarded to the Los Angeles Police Department, Robbery-Homicide Division's Bank Detail at 213-485-0780. After hours and weekends, call Department Command Post at 213-485-2505, or the FBI office at 310-477-6565.

Surveillance photographs of the suspects will be available during the press conference.

This media advisory was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.