Police Catch Bank Bag Robber

Police say the suspect of Friday’s robbery is similar to one of the suspects of eight other bank bag robberies in San Diego

By Lauren Steussy
|  Saturday, Jun 25, 2011  |  Updated 5:55 PM PDT
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Police Catch Bank Bag Robber

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A man was caught stealing a bank bag from an El Cajon Bank of America customer Friday night, potentially shedding light on a month-long series of bank bag robberies throughout San Diego County.

Friday’s robbery occurred outside the Bank of America on 512 Fletcher Way in El Cajon at approximately 4 p.m. The suspect approached a woman exiting the bank with a bank bag from behind, grabbed the bag and then ran away.

Witnesses chased the suspect into a parking lot of a nearby business. Police arrived and struggled with the suspect, but eventually took him into custody. The bank bag was later recovered.

The suspect, Alex Smith, 27, has “significant similarities” to the suspects of the other 8 robberies, said Lt. Jeff Arvan.

Investigation into this case is ongoing, and police cannot confirm Smith’s description or bail amount.

The other 8 robberies also occured in Bank of America parking lots. The first two "bank bag robberies" happened May 19th, in La Mesa and Santee. Other crime scenes include Mission Valley, Mira Mesa and El Cajon.

In each robbery previous to Friday’s, one man typically sprinted up to the victims – typically women carrying purses or bank bags – while another man drove the getaway car. The suspects are in their 20s, are very thin and run fast to their victims, said SDPD Spokesperson Lt. Andra Brown.

To avoid robberies of this type, Brown recommends concealing bank bags in backpacks or purses. She also advises bank customers to be aware of their surroundings and watch out for suspicious activity.

The other locations of the bank bag robberies include:

May 19th 5500 Grossmont Center Blvd., La Mesa
May 19th Mission Gorge Road and Cuyamaca Street, Santee
May 23rd 1700 Camino del Rio North, San Diego
May 23rd 9200 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego
June 7th 2200 National Avenue, San Diego
June 16th 3500 Del Mar Heights Road, San Diego
June 17th 6800 El Cajon Blvd. San Diego
June 22nd 5500 Grossmont Center Drive La Mesa

Police are not considering the June 23 Wells Fargo bank bag robbery part of this series because the suspect was different.
 

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