The “New Hat Bandits” have hit five banks over the last six weeks, including two in Manhattan Beach. The bottom left photo shows surveillance footage from Tuesday’s robbery at Citibank. Courtesy of FBI
The Manhattan Beach Police Department is working with the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to locate serial bank robbers known as the “New Hat Bandits,” who they believe is responsible for five local bank robberies over the past six weeks, including two in Manhattan Beach.
Two suspects entered the Citibank location on the 2700 block of Sepulveda Boulevard around 1:20 p.m. and demanded cash from a teller, MBPD detective Michael Rosenberger said. No weapon was used, although their hands were concealed in their pockets, he said. They fled with an unspecified amount of cash.
On Nov. 22 at 4:17 p.m., a suspect entered a U.S. Bank branch on the 3300 block of Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach, made an oral demand and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. Similarly, his hands were kept in his pockets; no weapon was seen.
In both cases, Rosenberger said witnesses saw a black Lincoln navigator leaving the vicinity rapidly, marking it as the suspects’ possible getaway vehicle.
Based on the surveillance footage, police believe both bank robberies involve the same suspect.
“The hats are pretty distinct,” Rosenberger said. “It’s not unusual to wear a baseball cap, but based on the M.O. and their features, they think it’s related.”
The suspects are described by witnesses as black males who wear baseball hats appearing to be new, according to the FBI press release. They are believed to be in their 30s, 5-feet-6-inches to 5-feet-8-inches tall, weighing between 150 and 170 pounds.
The “New Hat Bandits” have been linked to an Oct. 23 robbery of a Chase Bank in Monterey Park; an Oct. 31 robbery of Pacific Alliance Bank in Rosemead and a Nov. 14 robbery of Cathay Bank in Monterey Park.
Anyone with information about the identity or whereabouts of the suspects is urged to contact FBI or call 911.