$20K reward offered in search for ‘Hipster Bandit’

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SAN DIEGO — Authorities Friday announced a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the capture of a crook dubbed the “Hipster Bandit” due to the youthful bearing and attire he’s displayed during a yearlong series of bank robberies in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties.

The unidentified thief — a diminutive man who appears to be in his mid- 20s to early 30s — began his spree of heists in La Mesa last July, according to the FBI.

Since then, he has robbed or attempted to rob 10 supermarket banking desks — most recently last weekend, when he struck twice, once in Carlsbad and once in Mission Viejo. On April 1, he committed a holdup in Temecula, the FBI reported. All but two of the crimes occurred in the San Diego area, officials said.

In some instances, the thief has been seen strolling around grocery stores prior to committing robberies. In one case, he fled in a blue SUV, and on another occasion he made his getaway aboard a late-model black motorcycle, possibly a Harley-Davidson or Triumph.

Witnesses have described the “Hipster Bandit” as a thin, roughly 5- foot-4-inch, 125-pound white man with fair skin, freckles, protruding ears, brown hair and a tattoo on his left upper arm. Some who have heard him speak believe he may have an Australian or New Zealand accent.

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.

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