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Tustin : Police Arrest Suspect in Series of Bank Heists

A man suspected of committing up to 11 bank robberies while on probation for other heists was arrested in Tustin after a sheriff’s deputy recognized him from an FBI photo, authorities said Thursday.

Michael Todd Howard, 20, of Paramount, linked to at least seven bank robberies with a total haul of $13,500, was tracked to an apartment Wednesday in the 15900 block of Pasadena Street by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents after a 2-month investigation, Deputy Richard Dinsmoor said.

The break in the case came when Deputy Richard Biddle, a six-year veteran working out of the Lakewood station, recognized Howard from a photograph taken Oct. 21 by a surveillance camera at a First Interstate Bank in Signal Hill. Biddle had dealt with Howard in the past, Dinsmoor said, and saw his photo in an FBI flyer.

Howard was arrested in March and convicted of two bank robberies in Gardena, for which he was placed on 4 years’ probation by a federal judge on Sept. 19.

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Within a month, he was allegedly back at work, robbing a Sanwa Bank in Bellflower on Oct. 11. Since then, Howard is believed to have held up at least seven banks and is a suspect in four other heists, Dinsmoor said.

Howard was held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

A companion who was arrested with him, Scott David Morris, 28, of Bellflower, was held on an unrelated narcotics warrant. Bail was set at $5,000.


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