‘Bagman Bandit’ : Suspect Is Held in 60 Small Shop Robberies

Times Staff Writer

Three Anaheim detectives bagged a man Friday suspected of being the “Bagman Bandit” and believed responsible for more than 60 armed robberies of small shops in a dozen cities in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Officers said the suspect, whom they identified as Fernando Sanchez, 34, was arrested without incident at a La Habra motel.

Police said the suspect got his name because he carried a revolver in a plastic bag so that his victims could see it. He carried another plastic bag for the money. Police said the bandit got between $200 and $300 in each of the robberies.

Sanchez, who has no known permanent address, is suspected of committing the first of the 60 robberies Oct. 28 in Anaheim, hitting a fast-food restaurant, and the last one Tuesday in Anaheim. Police said he committed at least 60 robberies of small businesses in the cities of Buena Park, Santa Ana, Orange, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Fullerton and Cypress.


No one was injured during the bandit’s armed robberies, according to Barbara Burke, a spokeswoman for the Anaheim Police Department.

“He wasn’t violent. He would just ask them for the money,” Burke said.

The “Bagman Bandit” was so prolific that late last month, up to 19 police officers in Orange County cities conducted joint stakeouts of small shops such as ice cream parlors, hair stylists, fast-food restaurants, sandwich stores and several pharmacies in an unsuccessful effort to catch him.

Burke described the suspect as Latino, 6 feet tall, with short wavy black hair, a mustache and a missing front tooth. She said officers recovered a pistol at the motel where Sanchez was arrested Friday.


She said a series of tips from various county law enforcement agencies resulted in Sanchez’s arrest. He was being held late Friday in County Jail.

Anaheim Police Detectives Ron Good, Mike Patterson and Bob Brown made the arrest.

Sanchez is expected to be arraigned Monday.