Saturday Jan 10 2009
Investigation active for Auburn bank robbers
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Two men linked to similar crimes throughout the state
Auburn Police officers are continuing their fervent investigation of two bank robbers who recently hit local businesses and could possibly be connected to other robberies throughout the state. “We’re actively working on all kinds of leads,” said Det. Sgt. Victor Pecoraro of the Auburn Police Department. Law enforcement officials said the robber who demanded cash from the Bank of America Dec. 23 is linked similar robberies in Citrus Heights and Roseville. The man who robbed Wells Fargo Jan. 5 appears to be connected to a robbery at a Washington Mutual in Sacramento as well as others in the Southern California coastal area. Both men are suspected of being involved in other bank robberies in the Bay Area. Auburn investigators are working with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state, Pecoraro said. Auburn Police officials took some time this week to walk around to local banks and hand out suspect information and offer advice regarding safety measures. “The banks in our city are on top of it,” Pecoraro said. “They really appear to be receptive and very aware to what’s going on here. They don’t take it lightly.” Steve Smith, Granite Community Bank Vice President, said he appreciates the assistance of the police department. “That’s what a small community is all about,” Smith said. “We’re all trying to watch out for and help each other.” Nancy Cowan, Granite Community Bank account representative, agreed that working in a tight-knit community has its advantages. “We’re fortunate here because we know 90 to 95 percent of the clients who walk in the door,” Cowan said. Smith said an alert community is one of the best ways to keep Auburn from becoming an easy target for bank robbers. At their Downtown Auburn bank, they ask customers to remove hats and sunglasses. “Unfortunately, we’re in a perceived depression and more tougher times so it means more theft,” Smith said. “We have to keep watching out.” Smith said he could not discuss the details of his bank’s policy when a robber demands money from a teller but said, “It’s not to challenge by any means.” He stressed that customer and employee safety comes first. Smith, who has worked at several different banks, said he’s dealt with his share of robberies. One Christmas Eve was memorable because he spent 15 minutes talking to a “troubled” bank robber. Smith continued to talk to the robber until law enforcement arrived on scene and arrested the man. “They’re not fun,” Smith said of bank robberies. “They put everybody at risk.” The man who robbed Wells Fargo Bank on Lincoln Way in Auburn is described as a white male, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds, wearing a bright yellow baseball cap with the word, “LOCO” on the front. He reportedly has an injury on right palm that may require stitches. Witnesses stated that the suspect might have left in a dark green four-door vehicle similar to a late 1990s or newer Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable. He was reportedly headed onto Orange Street. The suspect who robbed the Bank of America the afternoon of Dec. 23 on High Street in Downtown Auburn is described as a white male between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 220 to 250 pounds, with sandy-blond or light-brown hair, light-colored eyes and a goatee at the time. He is said to be in his 20s or 30s. He left the bank in an unknown direction. Anyone with information or who witnessed either robbery is asked to call 9ll immediately or contact the Auburn Police Department Investigation Division at (530) 823-4237, ext. 207. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at email@example.com or post a comment.