Esther Kang

“Hypnotist Bandit” strikes for fourth time at Manhattan Beach bank

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A suspect nicknamed the "Hypnotist Bandit" by officials captured on surveillance at a Bank of America in downtown Manhattan Beach last Friday. Courtesy of FBI

A suspect nicknamed the “Hypnotist Bandit” by officials captured on surveillance at a Bank of America in downtown Manhattan Beach last Friday. Courtesy of FBI

FBI officials are linking last Friday’s robbery at a Bank of America in Manhattan Beach to a suspect nicknamed the “Hypnotist Bandit,” who is being sought for three other bank robberies during this past month.

The nickname “Hypnotist Bandit” comes from victim tellers’ descriptions of the suspect’s intense stare and continued eye contact during the robbery. Around 4:35 p.m. Friday, June 20, the suspect entered a Bank of America on Highland Avenue and passed a note demanding large bills — it advised “this is a robbery” and to make it “quick and easy,” according to the FBI.

Officials believe the same suspect is responsible for robberies at a Bank of the West in Pasadena on May 27 and a HSBC Bank in Temple City and Bank of the West in El Monte on June 3. In at least one incident he threatened a weapon, according to FBI. In each case, he was seen exiting the bank, taking the note with him.

The “Hypnotist Bandit” is described as a white or hispanic man around age 30 with brown hair, dark eyes, a goatee and a thin build (190-200 lbs) at 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-4 tall. Officials believe he has a faded red heart tattoo on one hand.

Anyone with information about the identity or whereabouts of the suspect is urged to contact the nearest FBI office or dial 911.

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