Have You Seen This Man?

If you see an elderly white man, 65-70, balding, bandaged and in a leg cast, riding a wheelchair in Palo Alto, Calif., call the cops.

Yes, you read that right. They say the man robbed a bank at gunpoint last week.

A man fitting the above description robbed a bank in a shopping mall last Thursday and managed foil cops with a brazen, midday, slow-speed getaway.

Witnesses say the man motored away in the chair — his right leg wrapped in a cast and sticking straight out — and may have gotten into a getaway car, an apparently-handicapped equipped white van. Or he may have been hoisted into the van by accomplices.

Initial reports had the man motoring down a nearby street towards the busy El Camino Real, and police said in a press release that the suspect was "gone from the area upon officers' arrival."

But in an interview with ABC News today, a department spokeswoman said a witness may have seen the man enter a van that was "parked very close" to the bank.

Adding to the Palo Alto police department's Keystone Cops-like luck, authorities said they were unable to get a clear image of the bandit from surveillance footage.

Over the weekend Palo Alto police issued a sketch of the suspect and are seeking the public's assistance in tracking the man down.

"We're hoping someone might recognize him," Palo Alto Police Department Agent Dan Ryan, who is overseeing the investigation, told the San Jose Mercury-News newspapers.

Palo Alto Police Department Officer Marianna Villaescusa could not immediate provide an estimate of the amount of time it took her department to respond to the robbery.

"Whenever there is a bank robbery, the people inside the bank are the priority,'' she told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit. No one was hurt during the robbery.

Villaescusa said that there was a delay in contacting police, but could not explain what the delay was.

But Wachovia's corporate communications manager for California, Eileen Leveckis, said she was not aware of any delay in reporting the robbery to police.

"We have not heard any report to that effect,'' she told ABC News, adding that the bank branch followed standard procedure.

Asked how the police may be incorrectly inferred that there was a delay in contacting them, Leveckis said that "all I can think of is that we absolutely have to notify our internal operations.

"But that is literally one quick phone call. I mean, we're talking about a man with a gun here. It's not like they were chatting about the weather. And then they immediately call the police on a dedicated line."

The Mercury-News reported Sunday that before the robbery last Thursday, a man fitting the description of the wheelchair bandit entered a Sharper Image store and asked for a shopping bag.

Bank employees recalled that the man "had such a bag during the heist,'' according to the newspaper.

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