|Thriller: FBI photo of the Michael Jackson Bandit robbing Sierra Madre's 'Bank of the West'|
(Mod: The big news is yesterday's robbery of Sierra Madre's Bank of the West branch. Done at high noon during the ever vigilant SMPD's portion of the law enforcement day, some dude dressed up mostly in white, with a black hat and matching stylish scarf, threatened the very lives of terrified bank employees. He escaped unscathed in an awaiting getaway car. Here is how the news outlets reported this untoward event.)
Los Angeles Times: Sierra Madre bank robbed at gunpoint by bandit in mask and black hat (link): A robber wearing a mask and black hat held up a Sierra Madre bank Wednesday, pepper-spraying three people at gunpoint before fleeing with a bag of money, FBI officials said.
The man clad in a white shirt, white pants, a white mask and a black wide-brimmed hat burst into the Bank of the West on Sierra Madre Boulevard about 1 p.m. and demanded money, Sierra Madre police said.
Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman, said the man threatened tellers with a semi-auto handgun and released pepper spray.
Officials said the bizarre outfit shielded his features during the takeover robbery. He is believed to have fled in a silver or gray car.
Officials are investigating whether the suspect might be connected to a bank robbery crew that has hit 24 banks in L.A. County since November.
The man carrying a semi-automatic firearm entered the Bank of the West branch at 100 Sierra Madre Blvd. at 1 p.m., Assistant City Manager Elisa Cox said. “It was a taken-over style robbery,” she said.
The suspect was also wearing a wide-rimmed black hat, a white mask with holes for the eyes and a dark-colored scarf, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimillier. “It was a very violent robbery,” Eimillier said.
No customers were inside the bank at the time. The man exited the bank and got in a silver-colored sedan driven by someone else.
There was no information on the gender of the driver or which direction the car was headed. Officials did not release the amount of money taken. At least three employees were treated at the scene.
The FBI is investigating whether or not this robbery is similar to others in the area, Eimiller said. Bank of the West corporate officials declined to comment about the incident deferring all inquiries to law enforcement.
|The Chief gives his assessment|
NBC News Southern California: Sierra Madre Bank Robber Sought (link): Police are searching for an armed bank robber who struck a Bank of the West in Sierra Madre Wednesday afternoon.
Around 1 p.m., a man dressed in an all-white jumpsuit, wearing a painters-style mask and a black wide-brimmed hat demanded money and pepper-sprayed employees at the branch in the 100 block of West Sierra Madre Boulevard. Sierra Madre Boulevard was closed between Hermosa Avenue and Windsor Lane for several hours as the Sierra Madre Police Department and the FBI investigated, according to a Facebook post from the city.
"Fortunately there were no customers in the bank it was just the bank staff," said Chief Larry Giannone. "He immediately walked to the counter, jumped the counter. He then put a gun to the teller's head and demanded $100,000."
The teller gave him what was available. He insisted it wasn't enough, so he went to several other tellers demanding more money. Giannone said he pulled out the pepper spray when he became frustrated that tellers had a difficult time opening one of the drawers.
The robber reportedly made a getaway in a silver colored sedan driven by another unknown suspect.
|Horrified Sierra Madre Facebook readers|
The suspect demanded money and proceeded to pepper spray the employees. The suspect fled in silver colored sedan, driven by an unknown suspect. Residents and visitors are asked to stay clear of the Bank of the West; Sierra Madre Blvd. is closed between Hermosa and Windsor until further notice.
The FBI is responding and assisting the Police Department with the investigation. If you have any information on this robbery, please contact the Police Department at 626-355-1414.
Sierra Madre Assistant City Manager Elisa Cox said it was fortunate there were no bank customers at the time of the robbery at the branch located in the 100 block of West Sierra Madre Blvd.
“At about 1 p.m., a male suspect entered the bank dressed in all white, wearing a painter’s mask and a wide-brimmed black hat,” Cox said. “He demanded money from the employees and pepper-sprayed them. Then he fled in a silver sedan with an unknown driver.”
Cox said they were expecting the FBI to be on the scene and that the city has meanwhile decided to close West Sierra Madre Blvd. where the bank was located, from the Hermosa intersection up to Windsor Lane.
Police are now searching the area for the suspects and are advising anyone with information about the incident to call the Sierra Madre Police Department, (626) 355-1414.
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