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Believed Responsible for 20 Bank Holdups : A Pair of Busy Robbers Prey on County

Times Staff Writer

Federal authorities are seeking two men in connection with nearly 20 Orange County bank robberies in which the robbers used threats but never showed a weapon.

The men, who have acted individually, have struck only in the northern part of the county, leading authorities to believe that they may not live here. Bank cameras have captured both robbers at work, producing clear pictures.

“We are wary that they are coming in from Los Angeles County,” said Bucky Cox, a supervisor special agent with the FBI in Santa Ana. “These guys may not reside or work in Orange County.”

Investigators have dubbed the most prolific robber “the Nerd” because of the thick eyeglasses he wore in one of the estimated 17 robberies he is believed to have committed since Oct. 7. He last struck on Feb. 23 at an Anaheim bank.

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Demand for Cash

This robber typically approaches a bank teller with a note or a verbal demand for cash. Once the teller has emptied the cash drawer, he walks away without calling attention to himself. The Nerd has escaped with relatively small amounts of cash, according to Cox, who said FBI policy prohibits release of the amounts stolen.

He has worn a variety of outfits and disguises: shorts, a sports jacket and tie, sunglasses and baseball caps. “His style is California mod,” Cox said.

The Nerd, who has hit banks in Westminster, La Habra, Orange, Tustin, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Brea and Diamond Bar, is described as Caucasian, in his mid-20s, about 5-foot-7 and with a slim build.

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The second thief is more threatening than the Nerd and has hit the same bank twice in just 10 weeks. In two robberies, he has netted more than the Nerd in all 17 holdups, Cox said.

‘Very Threatening’

“He is very threatening,” Cox said. “He tells tellers, ‘You don’t want anybody to get hurt,’ or ‘Give me all that you have and nobody will get hurt.’ ”

He robbed the Great Western Savings & Loan, 8020 Stanton Blvd. in Buena Park, on Dec. 10. On Feb. 22, he returned to the same Great Western branch, less than an hour after he had apparently lost his composure and fled during an attempted robbery at another Buena Park bank, Cox said.

The second robber is described as Caucasian, 55 to 60 years old, with gray hair. He is 6-foot to 6-foot-2, and 180 to 240 pounds. He has worn a sports jacket and tie in each holdup, and in the latest robbery also wore a snap-brim hat. Witnesses say he may drive a red and white 1984-86 Mazda Model 323 or 626.


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