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Man Robs Credit Union, Claims Earlier Holdup There

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An unidentified armed man talked himself into a closed credit union office Tuesday, stole about $19,000 in cash and then told the frightened clerk that he had robbed the institution before.

The man, who wore a full-face motorcycle helmet and carried a “sawed-off type of weapon,” fled the scene of the 8:22 a.m. robbery after tying up the clerk, Newport Beach Police Lt. Tim Newman said.

“It was a takeover type of thing,” Newman said.

The clerk was the only employee in the locked Continental Federal Credit on Birch Street and was preparing to open when she noticed a black motorcycle pull up to the front of the building, Newman said.

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The motorcyclist, wearing a brown jacket and camouflage army fatigues, walked up to the glass door, knocked and asked to be let in, Newman said.

Thinking the cyclist was a customer arriving at the credit union a few minutes early, she opened the door, Newman said. As soon as the door was open, the man pulled the gun from behind his back.

The man then grabbed the clerk, dragged her into the back room, ordered her to the ground, taped her mouth and placed “novelty type of handcuffs” on her wrists before clearing out the safe, Newman said.

While she was on the floor, “he makes comment that he robbed the place previously,” Newman said. “He laughs, then flees the business.”

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The clerk was able to gain the attention of someone in an adjoining business, who alerted Newport Beach police, Newman said.

Police and the FBI are investigating a possible link between Tuesday’s robbery and a robbery that occurred at the same location April 16. Although both were armed robberies, Newman said there were differences in manner, time of robbery and description of the suspects.

The suspect in Tuesday’s attack was described as about 32 years old, about 5-foot-6, medium build and wearing a red and white motorcycle helmet. The face plate was missing on the helmet.

Newman said that in the April robbery, a suspect, described as 6-foot-2 and weighing about 160 pounds, walked into the building at 4:20 p.m. and brandished a stainless-steel semiautomatic handgun, before fleeing with an undetermined amount of cash.

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