CUPERTINO, Calif. (KTVU) - Several law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area are on the lookout for a serial armed robber. The FBI is calling him the "Faux Badge Bandit.” He’s suspected of committing at least 10 robberies throughout the state. Five of them in the Bay Area.
He started in Southern California and has now made his way up north. His last known target was a U.S. Bank inside a Safeway store in San Ramon.
In the bank surveillance photos, unlike most robbers, you can clearly see the man's face. He didn't do much to conceal his identity. Authorities said his disguise is wearing a fake police badge and a hat.
“We think there's someone out there that knows who this person is,” said Sgt. Rich Glennon of Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. “His trademark is a wide brim hat he's also used a ball cap but he's quite identifiable.”
Dubbed the “Faux Badge Bandit" by the FBI, at times he's seen wearing a 7-point badge on his hip with a handgun in a shoulder holster impersonating a police officer.
Authorities started looking for him back on May 31 linked to four bank robberies in Southern California. Since then he's committed six more robberies in Elk Grove, Cupertino, Danville and San Ramon.
“It's brazen,” said Sgt. Glennon. “There have been a lot of bank robberies but he's also considered armed and dangerous.”
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said in a three-week span, he committed three robberies in Cupertino. All of them on De Anza Boulevard.
The first one happened back on June 20 at a U.S. Bank, then on July 5 at First Republic Bank. Five days later, he robbed a HSBC.
On Thursday at Noon, he struck a First Republic in Danville wearing a salmon-colored polo shirt and baseball cap. Four hours later, at 3 p.m., he robbed a U.S. Bank inside a Safeway in neighboring San Ramon.
“He’s going into the banks,” said Sgt. Glennon. “He usually has some sort of hat and he comes indicating he has a firearm or shows a firearm to the teller. He will usually pass a note demanding money.”
In the San Ramon case, the teller refused to give money despite the suspect brandishing a black semi-automatic handgun.
“I would think he would have a hood over his face,” said Christina Rodriguez of Danville.
Rodriguez considers his actions bold, shocked to hear about the rash of robberies. She thinks it will only be a matter of time authorities catch him.
“I think he's about to be taken quite seriously and I think he's going to be caught,” said Rodriguez. “I think he's been on a little spree, a little high but I do think he's going to be caught.”
The suspect is described as 6” tall, 230 pounds, and 40 to 50 years old. Banks are now hiring undercover security on the lookout for him. The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward to find him. Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities.