Carmel Valley merchants organize after robbery at bank

Piazza Carmel store owners are doing what they can to make shoppers feel a little more comfortable after the April 20 robbery at the center’s Wells Fargo Bank.

Victor Manoushakian, who has owned Highlands Jewelry for 15 years and is a new member of the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board, said the merchants have organized and are working toward installing security cameras at the center shops.

“We want to install the cameras so families feel more at ease shopping and parking here,” Manou-shakian said. “This is a small, family-oriented center and we want people to feel they’re in a more secured zone.”

On April 20 around 4:15 p.m., a suspect police have referred to as the “Skater Bandit” because of his attire and general appearance, handed a demand note to a teller at the Wells Fargo Bank.

After taking an unspecified amount of money, he fled on foot, nearly crashing into Manoushakian’s wife Jeannette. She was on her cell phone when she said he ran past her in a thick jacket. On such a warm day she knew right away something must have been amiss.

“It happened so fast,” Jeannette said. Victor said he saw the man run through the center’s back alley.

They are hoping to get cameras up in stores in the next few months, Manoushakian said.

Police believe the Skater Bandit struck again on May 11 at the US Bank on Via de la Valle at around 1:30 p.m. The bandit is described by the San Diego Police Department as a white male, 5-foot-10-inches-tall and 165 pounds. In both robberies he wore a knit cap and sunglasses.

A $16,000 award has been posted for information leading to his arrest. Anyone with information can call (888) 580-8477.

Tipsters can remain anonymous.