A serial bank robber struck a Loyola Corners bank Monday, just 20 minutes after robbing the same bank's branch in Sunnyvale, Los Altos police said.
The suspect entered the at 1001 Fremont Avenue at around 1 p.m. on Oct. 24, Los Altos Police Sergeant Cameron Shearer said. The suspect went up to the teller and presented a demand note stating he was armed. As with prior robberies, no weapon was actually seen, and the teller gave him an undisclosed amount of cash which he put in a side-slung computer bag, according to Sgt. Shearer.
Before robbing the Los Altos branch, the robber hit the U.S. Bank in Sunnyvale in the Loehmann's Shopping Center on Hollenbeck Avenue, near Homestead High School. He has robbed five to six U.S. Bank branches now throughout the Bay Area, Shearer said, including in on Stevens Creek Boulevard just five days earlier. Two others include a branch in South San Francisco and in Fremont, Sgt. Shearer said.
The Los Altos incident took about two minutes, and the other customers in the bank did not even know it took place, and the subject then left on foot towards Miramonte Avenue, Shearer said. There were five employees and a couple of customers in the bank at the time of the incident, he added.
It's not that unusual for bank robbers to target branches of one bank, Shearer said. Because of that, employees at the Loyola branch of U.S. Bank had already seen pictures of the suspect that had been circulated. Sometimes robbers are former bank employees or boyfriends of employees who have a familiarity with the layout of a bank, he said.
"Sometimes it's just a superstition," he added. "If they have success at the first bank they rob, they might stay with that bank."
A spokeswoman for U.S. Bank, Teri Charest, said Tuesday that the bank was "cooperating with law enforcement's investigation of this incident and have offered an award of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the incident."
Some business owners at Loyola Corners were interviewed by FBI, said Suzanne Campi Stevens, who owns the nearby . Agents asked her about building surveillance cameras that might look onto Miramonte, she said.
The man is described as having a medium complexion, in his 30s, 5' 8", 180 lbs, very thick beard, and glasses. At the time of the Los Altos robbery he was wearing sandals and a long light blue or white shirt and light colored pants.
- Los Altos Patch Editor L.A. Chung contributed to this report