‘El Chaparrito’ Bandit Sought in 8 Bank Robberies

The bandit is known for his short stature, with some witnesses putting him between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-9

By Monica Garske
|  Saturday, Feb 1, 2014  |  Updated 2:27 PM PDT
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Bank Bandit Wears Bronzer, Wig: Witnesses

FBI

The "El Chaparrito" bank bandit during one of his many heists in San Diego County.

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A bank robbery suspect dubbed ‘El Chaparrito’ by the FBI due to his small stature is being sought by law enforcement officials for his alleged involvement in at least eight heists across San Diego County.

According to the FBI and San Diego Police Department, the El Chaparrito bandit, or short bandit, has been robbing local banks since November 2013. The latest in his series of crimes happened Wednesday at a Bank of America branch located at 5851 Balboa Ave.

In that incident, the bandit ran into the bank and approached a teller station while yelling, “Give me money!” The FBI said the suspect had one hand raised, as if holding a weapon, and the other in his jacket, also simulating a weapon.

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Investigators said El Chaparrito’s robberies are all similar in nature. They usually involve the short suspect entering the bank, yelling that he is there to rob the bank and then demanding money in both Spanish and English.

Investigators said witnesses describe El Chaparrito as a Hispanic or white man between 20 and 30 years old with a medium build, weighing between 140 and 180 pounds. As for his notable height, he’s said to be between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-9.

According to the FBI, the bandit began robbing local banks on Nov. 19, 2013, with a heist at a Chase Bank located at 1130 E. Plaza Blvd. in National City. That was followed by these robberies:

  • California Coast Credit Union at 1060 University Ave. #A101 on Dec. 13, 2013
  • Chase Bank at 6116 Mission Gorge Rd. on Dec. 19, 2013
  • Chase Bank at 4500 Bonita Rd. in Chula Vista on Jan. 3, 2014
  • Chase Bank at 4111 Governor Dr. on Jan. 10, 2014
  • Chase Bank at 5303 Ruffin Rd. on Jan. 15, 2014
  • Wells Fargo Bank at 1220 Cleveland Ave. on Jan. 23, 2014

And, finally, the aforementioned robbery from Wednesday.

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Through surveillance footage, the FBI has been able to examine some images of El Chaparrito. However, it’s difficult to identify his facial features because he typically wears a bandana over his face and a hat. He’s also worn gloves, all black clothing and jacket zipped high up to his chin during some of the robberies.

Anyone with information on El Chaparrito should contact the FBI at (858) 320-1800 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 540-8477.


 

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