‘Hipster Bandit’ robs bank minutes after 1st attempt fails

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. — An unidentified man believed to be a serial San Diego-area bank robber dubbed the “Hipster Bandit” due to his youthful bearing and attire struck twice in short order Wednesday, but only succeeded in getting cash during one of the crimes.

The thief — a thin, diminutive man who appears to be in his mid-20s to early 30s — passed a demand note to a teller at a Wells Fargo banking desk at a Vons store in the 800 block of College Boulevard in Oceanside shortly after 2 p.m., according to the FBI.

When the clerk refused to hand over any money, the bandit left.

Less than 10 minutes later, the same man gave a written demand message to a cashier at a Union Bank branch office in a Ralphs supermarket in the 100 block of Old Grove Road, about a mile west of the site of the failed robbery, the FBI reported. The employee handed over an undisclosed amount of money, and the robber fled, possibly on a black motorcycle.

Witnesses described the thief as a roughly 5-foot-4-inch, 125-pound white man in his mid-20s to early 30s with brown hair and a tattoo on his left upper arm.

Investigators believe the same person committed robberies at U.S. Bank branches in Albertsons supermarkets in La Mesa and Fallbrook July 2 and Sept. 25, respectively; and at a Wells Fargo banking desk at a Vons store in the 10600 block of Scripps Poway Parkway in Sabre Springs on Nov. 2.

Anyone who might be able to help identify the robber was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.