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Bank robberies in SLO, Nipomo are believed linked to 'red Sharpie bandit'

The man who robbed Nipomo's Wells Fargo branch on Monday afternoon is seen walking into the bank in this image from video.
The man who robbed Nipomo's Wells Fargo branch on Monday afternoon is seen walking into the bank in this image from video.

Two banks were robbed Monday afternoon, one in San Luis Obispo and one in Nipomo, both of which the FBI believes are tied to the “red Sharpie bandit” who has now hit an estimated 10 banks across California including ones in this county in the past.

The first bank robbery today was reported to San Luis Obispo police at 1:06 p.m. It occurred at the Wells Fargo Bank in the Vons in the Marigold Shopping Center on Broad Street.

The suspect reportedly handed a teller a note threatening that he had a weapon and demanding money, according to SLO Police Capt. Ian Parkinson. He fled with an undetermined amount of money. His notes in the past have been written with something resembling a red Sharpie, law enforcement officials said.

Witnesses to the San Luis Obispo crime described the robber as a white man with a stocky build between the ages of 20 and 40.

Approximately an hour later, sheriff’s deputies were called to the stand-alone Wells Fargo Bank on West Tefft Street in Nipomo.

Again, a man handed a teller a note threatening a weapon and demanding money, according to San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Rob Bryn. And again, he fled with money. In both cases, he wore a baseball cap.

The Nipomo robber was described as a white male, in his 20s, with a stocky build and a black baseball cap.

“This individual has been robbing banks up in your neck of the woods and in Orange County,” said Los Angeles-based FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Eimiller said the note threatens tellers with a gun.

She said the FBI believes the same man has also committed bank robberies in the Orange County communities of Dana Point on March 16 and Oct. 30, in San Clemente on March 16 and Oct. 30, and in Seal Beach on Oct. 13 and Nov. 9.

That is in addition to the banks that he is believed to have robbed in San Luis Obispo County.

The same robber is linked to holdups at the Chase Manhattan Bank in downtown San Luis Obispo on Oct. 27, and to a robbery at Rabobank on Sept. 1 in Pismo Beach.

Anyone with information on these crimes can contact Crime Stoppers at 549-STOP.

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