PALM SPRINGS (CBS) — Authorities have linked a man known as the Snowboarder Bandit to a bank heist in Palm Springs. The bandit, who is on the FBI’s most wanted list of bank robbers, is now connected to 11 bank holdups in Southern California.
The bandit is suspected of holding up a BBVA Compass branch at 420 S. Palm Canyon Drive last Friday, said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
After reviewing surveillance footage, investigators Tuesday determined it was the Snowboarder Bandit, FBI Special Agent Chris Gicking said.
Authorities believe it was the first time, since he first began targeting banks in December, that the suspect has ventured out of Orange County to commit a heist.
A composite sketch was released Monday of the suspect. Two artist’s rendering of the illusive criminal were released, one depicting him wearing sunglasses and his trademark beanie hat and the other with him wearing no disguise.
Authorities said he sometimes uses a motorcycle helmet.
“The forensic composite artist met with several different witnesses from different banks. She compiled this composite sketch. Sometimes without the hat and then you see the hair, they see some facial features, sometime it rings a bell. We’re hoping that that is the case this time,” said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities said that before the Palm Springs robbery it had been just over a month since the Snowboarder Bandit had hit — a dry spell for the otherwise busy crook.
“The reason we believe he has not hit for four weeks is because he knew the heat was on him. Possibly he went to another area until the heat cooled down. We believe he is back somewhere in South Orange County and we’re hoping someone will recognize him,” Amormino said.
The FBI said that someone inside of a Wells Fargo branch in Irvine recognized the snowboarder bandit last Thursday.
He got just inside, inquired about a safe deposit box and then quickly left.
There was no robbery in that case – authorities said perhaps because of the protective glass placed around the teller windows.
A $10,000 reward has been offered to the person who gives law enforcement information that leads to his capture and conviction.