A manhunt is underway for a notorious bank robber known as the “AK-47 Bandit,” suspected in a slew of brazen heists across the northwest and now in Nebraska.
At a press conference in Chino, Calif., on Monday where the heavily armed suspect’s spree is believed to have begun, police said the bandit is armed, dangerous and at it again.
“We’re going to do whatever we can do, use every resource available to us to hunt this guy down and take him into custody,” Chino Police Chief Miles Pruitt said.
The unidentified bank robber is a suspect in five bank robberies in four states, including an Aug. 22 robbery at the First National Bank Branch in Nebraska City, Neb. In the recent robbery, the suspect ordered employees to empty out the vault, making off with a duffel bag full of cash.
And just like each heist before, he was seen during the Nebraska heist carrying a high-powered assault weapon, complete with a round drum magazine.
Investigators suspect the man may have been a law enforcement officer at some point. He’s been seen wearing a sheriff’s vest during some of his holdups.
“His tactics suggest he may have had military or law enforcement experience,” Pruitt said.
The spree started two years ago at the California Bank and Trust in Chino. The bandit allegedly called 911 to report a bomb threat, apparently to create a diversion before carrying out the 2012 robbery.
During the escape, he opened fire on a police officer, seriously wounding the officer. That officer has since recovered from his injuries.
After the heist in California, the FBI says the man robbed banks in Idaho, Washington and Nebraska. Each time, he’s worn a black ski mask to hide his face, and he’s always been seen carrying the same AK-47.
According to the FBI, the suspect has been seen leaving the scene of robberies in a dark gray Nissan Maxima. He’s described as white, about 5-feet-10 and 180 to 220 pounds.
Authorities have offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.