3 Banks Robbed; Same Man May Have Hit 2

Three Great Western Bank branches were robbed Friday, two of them possibly by the same man.

The first robbery occurred about 12:15 p.m. at the Fountain Valley branch in the 18500 block of Brookhurst Street, Fountain Valley Police Lt. Larry Griswold said. The robber gave a teller a note demanding money and escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash, Griswold said.

The robber was described as white, in his 50s with graying hair. He wore a yellow shirt, blue pants, and a white-and-blue baseball cap.

About an hour later, a man of similar description also gave a note to a teller at the Huntington Beach Great Western Bank in the 16100 block of Beach Boulevard. The man said he had a gun and explosives, but none was seen, Huntington Beach Police Sgt. Terry Lindsey said. The robber escaped with $2,425.

He was described as white, about 45, 6-feet-1, about 180 pounds and with dark-brown hair covered with a red cap. He was dressed in a blue, long-sleeved shirt and jeans, Lindsey said.

The same man was later seen in a teal, four-door Ford Escort speeding west on Stark Street, Lindsey said.

Another man wearing a red cap, but of a slightly younger description, robbed a Santa Ana Great Western Bank in the 1700 block of North Main Street about 2:40 p.m., Sgt. Bob Clark said.

The thin, clean-shaven, 6-foot-1 man demanded money and told the teller he was armed, although no weapon was seen. He passed the teller a blue bag in which an undetermined amount of money was place, Clark said.

The man rode away from the bank on a bicycle, which he put into white Ford Aerostar driven by a man and carrying a woman.

Investigators believe the first two robberies were committed by the same man because of the similarities of their descriptions, said Gary Morley, an FBI spokesman. They are not sure if the last robbery is connected to the first two.

The half-dozen robberies this week are typical of the rise in holdups during the holiday season, police said.

For instance, the Great Western branch in Huntington Beach was robbed Thursday and Friday this week. A suspect who escaped with about $3,000 Thursday was caught later that day.

" 'Tis the season to be robbing," Clark quipped.

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