Bank Bandit Leads Police on Pursuit

Oscar Esteban Valle, 27, faces charges of robbery and evading police

After robbing a bank in the Clairemont area, a bandit led San Diego police on a pursuit Saturday afternoon that ended with the suspect crashing into a police car, officials said.

The robbery happened around 1:40 p.m. at a Wells Fargo Bank in the 5500 block of Balboa Avenue. The suspect made a verbal demand for cash, but did not brandish a weapon, police said.

Once he got some cash, the suspect fled the scene in a silver Nissan truck, leading officers on a chase along several streets including Mount Acadia and Clairemont Mesa boulevards, as well as Field Street.

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The pursuit lasted about 10 minutes, police said. A helicopter was launched to help spot the suspect by air.

After making his way to westbound Interstate 8 and the Sports Arena Boulevard off-ramp, the suspected bank robber struck a police car. He then kept driving and hit a bystander's car, police said.

The driver fled the crash scene on foot, but was ultimately arrested moments later.

Officials have identified the suspect as Oscar Esteban Valle, 27, of National City. Valle faces charges of robbery and evading police and is being held on $2 million bail, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The robber seemed to match the description of the notorious "El Chaparrito." The bank robber nicknamed for his short stature has struck more than a dozen banks in the San Diego area since last November. The FBI did not comment Monday if Valle is El Chaparrito.

Bank robberies are on the rise in San Diego, according to the FBI. The FBI said there were 61 bank robberies by this time last year, but there have already been more than 80 this year.

Police said no one was injured Saturday's bank heist or pursuit.

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