Jan. 31, 2011 -- The FBI is on the hunt for the "geezer bandit" after his 13th bank robbery in California since August 2009.
The bandit, who appears to be an elderly man, robbed a Bank of America, in Goleta, Calif., in Santa Barbara County, on Friday. Santa Barbara County is now the fourth county in which the "geezer bandit" has struck. The other robberies took place in the counties of Riverside, San Diego, and Kern.
FBI spokesperson, Darrell Foxworth, said the FBI is continuing to take into consideration that the robber could be wearing a mask.
"We're considering all possibilities," said Foxworth. "We have to keep in mind that description we have made available to the public is based on photographs and accounts from the victims. Some have indicated they believe he is wearing a mask, others have not mentioned that at all."
The robber displayed the same characteristics as the other 12 robberies, with a baseball cap, sunglasses, and a gun. The geezer bandit also approached a teller just before the bank closed, as in the other holdups.
Foxworth said masks are a common tool to conceal a robber's identity. He said if the "geezer bandit" is indeed wearing a mask, it may be a more sophisticated one than others he has seen.
"We've been involved in other investigations in which bank robbers wear horrific Halloween style masks to incite fear into bank employees and customers," said Foxworth. "If this was a mask, that the person was wearing, certainly it's a better quality than some others."
Foxworth said if he is indeed an elderly man, the public should still be on alert.
"This individual is considered armed and dangerous," said Foxworth. "He has pointed a weapon at innocent victim tellers in the course of these robberies. He is not someone to be taken lightly."
The FBI and a number of banks are offering $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the "geezer bandit." Witnesses described the robber as white, male, apparently 60-70 years old, 6 feet tall and approximately 190 pounds. Foxworth said the longest spree he can recall from a single thief was a two-year string of more than 40 bank robberies. That robber, known as the FedEx thief for sometimes carrying a FedEx envelope as a prop into banks and filling it with cash, ended in 2005 with the arrest of Farhad Farhbaksh near the U.S.-Mexico border. Farhbaksh was sentenced to 34 years in prison in 2006.
The FBI's four field offices covering Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, are working with local law enforcement officials on the investigation.