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2 Men With Assault-Style Guns Rob Bank

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In an apparent replay of a holdup at a Van Nuys bank only a month ago, two masked men believed to be the same bandits burst into a Winnetka bank Friday, firing rounds from assault-style weapons into the ceiling, the FBI reported--the fourth crime at that bank in less than a year.

The robbers struck the Bank of America branch at 20118 Roscoe Blvd. about 10 a.m. Friday, FBI spokeswoman Laura Bosley said.

“They used the same method,” as the robbers who hit a Bank of America branch in Van Nuys on May 2 and appeared to be similarly dressed, Bosley said.

In both cases, the robbers were described as 5 feet, 11 inches to 6 feet, 1 inch tall, with large builds, wearing dark ski masks, gloves and clothing, Bosley said. In both robberies, Bosley said, the bandits barged into the bank, firing rounds from what witnesses described as automatic weapons into the ceiling as they yelled at customers and employees to get down and demanding money from the vault.

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Authorities did not disclose the amounts taken in either robbery.

Reacting to the FBI’s suspicion that the same robbers committed both holdups, the Bank of America is offering a $100,000 reward--double the amount offered after the first robbery--for information on either of the two incidents, said Linda Mueller, the bank’s vice president of public relations.

Added Lisa Prescott, the bank’s executive vice president and manager for the Los Angeles region: “We are strongly committed to finding and bringing to justice the individuals responsible for these crimes.”

It was the fourth incident at the Winnetka Bank of America branch since last June, when robbers firing semi-automatic weapons killed an armored car guard delivering cash to the branch. Another robbery occurred that June and on April 29 of this year, two suspected robbers were arrested after a holdup there.

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In the robbery Friday, no one was hit by the shots fired, said Brian Humphrey, spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Four people, however, were treated at the scene for minor injuries and a 27-year-old pregnant bank employee who suffered a cut to her leg, probably when she dropped to the floor, was treated at Northridge Hospital Medical Center and released, Humphrey said.

A 74-year-old man who tried to keep a dog outside the bank from barking was bitten on the hand, Humphrey said. The man declined medical assistance, indicating he would get his own.

“They appeared to be visibly shaken but otherwise uninjured,” Humphrey said of the few other customers and employees at the bank.

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