‘Skater Bandit’ strikes two area banks


A man suspected of carrying out a spree of North County bank robberies in recent weeks struck again Monday at a bank off Via de la Valle, just three days after hitting a Solana Beach bank, authorities reported.

The thief, whose attire and general appearance has earned him the nickname “Skater Bandit” among law enforcement agencies, handed a demand note to a teller at the U.S. Bank branch at 2830 Via de la Valle, about 1:30 Monday afternoon, according to police and the FBI.

He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash on foot to the north on San Andres Drive, SDPD Sgt. Ray Battrick said.

The bandit, described as a roughly 5-foot-10-inch, 165-pound white man, was wearing blue jeans, a gray high-collared sweater, a knit cap and sunglasses.

The same man is believed to have also robbed the following institutions:

-- U.S. Bank, 190 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, San Marcos, April 18;

-- Wells Fargo Bank, 3820 Valley Centre Drive, San Diego, April 20;

-- Union Bank of California, 200 W. D St., Encinitas, April 28;

-- Temecula Valley Bank, 16469 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego, May 5;

-- Temecula Valley Bank, 985 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach, May 8.

Authorities have posted a $16,000 reward for information leading to to the arrest and conviction of the thief. Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous.