A 59-year-old Glendale man described by police as “just like anybody’s grandfather” was arrested Thursday in connection with a four-year string of at least 30 armed robberies that netted about half a million dollars.
Edwin W. Loftus, reportedly a self-employed telecommunications expert, was arrested after a high-speed chase through Glendale, Burbank and Hollywood. Police allege that he is the so-called “Old Man Bandit.”
The robber, who usually wore a fishing hat and wire-rim glasses, typically stood at the door of a bank and waited for a victim--most often a restaurant employee on the way to deposit receipts, said Investigator Larry Cobb of the Glendale Police Department.
One victim was shot in the foot during a robbery in Pasadena last year, officers said.
Almost all of the holdups occurred at Bank of America branches in a corridor along the Ventura and Foothill freeways in the east San Fernando Valley, Burbank, Glendale and the San Gabriel Valley.
Police said that despite dozens of bank stakeouts, the robber eluded them, even though they had a good description of his appearance from victims and witnesses. License plates on several different cars used in the robberies turned out to have been stolen.
Police said that evidence recovered from Loftus’ car included an automatic pistol, police scanner, binoculars, several sets of stolen license plates, rubber gloves and sets of maps with bank locations marked. The car was registered to Loftus, but the license plates had been stolen from vehicles parked at Burbank Airport.
Glendale Officer Jim Flores spotted Loftus in a car parked at the Bank of America branch at 6400 San Fernando Road on Wednesday and notified detectives.
On Thursday, police staked out the bank. The chase began at 9:20 a.m. when Loftus approached the bank in his car, then sped off. He led officers along surface streets before ending up in Hollywood, where his car crashed into two others parked in the 1700 block of Hillhurst Avenue. More than a dozen Glendale and Burbank officers, aided by a helicopter, participated in the chase.