Three bank robberies in one week and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is still empty handed. There are a lot of questions like is it all the same person or are these copy-cat crimes.
Deputy Mike Vasquez of Riverside County Sheriff’s Department can’t confirm if the suspect is the same person but said they have some “strong leads.”
“With three happening in a week, we are definitely stepping up our game and really taking a proactive approach with finding the banks in our area that may be targets,” Vasquez said.
The banks hit by the robberies: Pacific Premier Bank, Rabobank and Wells Fargo are all within miles of each other in Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage.
“You can imagine somebody on foot walking out of a business, they’re gone within seconds and so there often times are people who are aiding them, assisting them and embedding them,” Vasquez said. “They are taking extra steps with positioning cars and getaway vehicles and other people that may be involved.”
Vasquez said even with the descriptions they have available the disguises the robbers have worn make it difficult to identify them.
“The individual in the first two was covered up and there wasn’t many physical descriptors to provide,” he said. “That, in and of itself, is challenging so we’re going off of witness statements and other things like video surveillance to really key in and hone in on who these individuals might be.”
RSO also uses DNA testing, finger-print samples and facial recognition technology to help in the investigation which the FBI recently joined.
Vasquez said releasing still images at this time is not an option because it could hurt the investigation.
In the meantime, banks nearby are on high alert alongside officers, “doing active patrols, being in the area close by and really setting a perimeter.”
Vasquez reminds bank-goers to stay alert and take a look at your surroundings. If you have information you can contact the police.