Fake-bearded, fedora-wearing bandit strikes again

GRASS VALLEY — For the fourth time in the past four months, a man wearing a fedora and a fake beard robbed yet another bank.

The latest robbery occurred March 31 at 4:10 p.m. at the Bank of the West at 736 Turnersville Rd. in Grass Valley, and is the second time he has robbed this particular location.

The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 40 to 50 years old, with gray or salt and pepper gray hair. He is 5-9 to 6-feet tall and has a slim build.

As part of his disguise, the suspect wears a fedora-type hat and a fake goatee leading authorities to nickname him the “Fake-Bearded Fedora” bandit. In each of the robberies he displayed a handgun and typically uses a black, eco-friendly-type bag commonly found at many supermarkets for his loot. The bag has straps and unidentified green writing on it.

A disguise-wearing bank robber has struck at three Bank of the West locations, one of them twice, in the past four months.

The spree started late last year in Grass Valley with a Dec. 22 robbery of the same Bank of the West branch on Turnersville Road, and continued with the Feb. 18 robbery of the Bank of the West on 2160 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe, and the March 8 robbery of the Bank of the West on 200 Bear Street in Kings Beach.

In all of the robberies the suspect approached the teller counter and made verbal demands for money. In at least one of the robberies, he made an attempt to disguise his voice by speaking with clenched teeth. As he approached the teller counter during the March 31 robbery, he told the teller, “Here we go again.”

Witness descriptions and surveillance photos indicate the suspect also wore a light colored parka or rain jacket with a hood that has dark colored trim near the zipper and hood, a light colored mock turtle-neck shirt, black pants, black shoes and black sunglasses. In two of the robberies he wore black gloves.

These robberies are being investigated by the Grass Valley Police Department, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, the Placer County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI.

Anyone with information regarding this robbery is asked to contact the FBI in Sacramento at (916) 481-9110, the Grass Valley Police Department at (530) 477-4600, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at (530) 542-6100, or the Placer County Sheriff’s Department at (530) 581-6330. A reward of up to $2,500 has been offered by Bank of the West for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the above referenced robberies.


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