Geezer Bandit Robs Santee Bank

Three rewards totaling $16,000 are being offered for the Geezer Bandit, who struck again Tuesday.

Police said the man in his 60s robbed a Bank of America in Santee.

The serial bank robbery suspect has now knocked over nine banks around San Diego County including today's robbery in the 9700 block of Mission Gorge Road. In a new twist on Tuesday, the suspect had thin plastic tubes -- similar to those used by patients carrying oxygen tanks -- coming out of his nose. During the robbery, he took out a small revolver and placed it on the teller counter.

Customers who heard the news said they understand why the man has resorted to robbing banks.

“He could have walked right by me and I wouldn’t have noticed because I forgot what his picture looked like,” said bank customer Shawn Bellows.

Two weeks ago, the geriatric gunman gave a clerk a demand note at the California Bank and Trust in the 140 block of Escondido Avenue in Vista and told her he was armed. Then, to make sure she was convinced, he opened a day planner and brandished a short-barreled black revolver. 

The feds say the suspect is between 60-70 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighs about 190 pounds.

The age and his appearance seemed to strike some sympathy with Bellows. “It happens all over San Diego County. People are getting desperate in economic times, with no money and all that,” she said.

Another customer, Ken Jagd of Santee, agreed saying people are hurting right now.

“Social security just doesn’t pay anymore so he’s got to make amends somehow," Jagd said while maintaining that even being broke doesn't mean someone should committ a crime.

The man's age and his intent doesn't threaten Jagd. “Why would I be scared of somebody like that? He’s just out to supplement his income,” he said.

However in the Vista robbery, a teller noticed something strange about the suspect's hands leading FBI agents to believe that the Geezer may not be as old as he appears to be.

"He could possibly be wearing gloves like human hands to then carry out the disguise that he is actually older than he really is,"said FBI spokesperson April Langwell.  "A 30 year old's hands don't look like a 70 year old's hands, of course."

For Santee bank customer Jim Bell, news that the Geezer Bandit had paid a visit to his branch wasn't at all shocking. “People are broke,” said Bell. “Probably doesn’t have enough retirement.”

The FBI is asking for the public's help identifying the bank robber. Rewards totaling $16,000 have been offered for information leading to his arrest and conviction.   

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