“Explosives Threat” Robbery Bandit Indicted

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From the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

A man suspected to be responsible for multiple bank robberies in Los Angeles County was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday, announced André Birotte Jr., United States Attorney in Los Angeles and Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

The announcement was made on behalf of multiple agencies investigating a series of bank robberies with a similar modus operandi since late 2011, including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Monica Police Department, the El Monte Police Department, the West Covina Police Department and the Baldwin Park Police Department.

William Joseph Allen, 32, of Los Angeles, was charged in an eight-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles with bank robbery and attempted bank robbery.

Detectives with the Santa Monica Police Department identified Allen as a suspect in the series of robberies that had been linked to the “Explosives Threat Bandit” after developing forensic evidence collected at a bank robbery on March 29.

Once Allen was identified as a suspect, investigators conducting the joint investigation obtained an arrest warrant. Allen was apprehended on April 17th in downtown Los Angeles by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Division.

A captured banner has been placed over the wanted flyer of the Explosives Threat Bandit.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on May 1, 2012, charges Allen with the following bank robberies and/or attempted bank robberies:

11/15/11 Bank of America 2901 Eastland West Covina

1/4/12 Wells Fargo Bank 10789 West Pico Los Angeles

1/4/12 Chase Bank 11285 National Los Angeles

11/28/11 Bank of America 8655 Beverly Los Angeles

1/17/12 Bank of America 2930 Sepulveda Los Angeles

1/17/12 Chase Bank 1415 Lincoln Venice

3/23/12 Comerica Bank 4040 Lincoln Marina del Rey

3/29/12 Wells Fargo 1300 Fourth Street Santa Monica

During the early robberies linked to the Explosives Threat Bandit, the suspect left behind a device made up of electronic components and various wiring. The suspect advised the victim teller that someone outside the bank would detonate the device, indicating explosives were contained within the device. During some of the robberies, the suspect would indicate or state that he had a bomb.

The device and associated threats required various bomb squads in Los Angeles County to respond to the banks in order to render the situation safe, a process that lasted several hours and required the involvement of multiple personnel.

In other robberies, witnesses described a handgun brandished by the suspect. During the robberies, the suspect made oral demands and used written notes that he passed to the teller, demanding cash. Some of the notes indicated that the suspect had a friend outside the bank who was monitoring a police frequency and whom he would advise to “press a button” if the victim did not comply. One note contained the phrase, “establishment will not exist.”

Allen is being held in federal custody awaiting trial.

This investigation was conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Monica Police Department, the El Monte Police Department, the West Covina Police Department, the Baldwin Park Police Department and the FBI.

Allen is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.

FBI PRESS RELEASE
LOS ANGELES FIELD OFFICE

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