Armed robber with animal hat sought

SAN DIEGO - Authorities asked the public Tuesday for help in identifying a gun-toting man who robbed a bank customer at a Rancho Bernardo ATM while sporting a novelty animal-head hat with floppy "ears" that hung to his waist.

The thief confronted the woman outside a Union Bank branch office in the 16800 block of Bernardo Center Drive shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday, threatened her with a pistol and demanded cash, according to San Diego police.

The victim complied, after which the bandit demanded more money. When she refused, the man ran over to her car -- which was unlocked, with driver's door open and the key in the ignition -- and got behind the wheel.

Before the thief could start the engine and drive off, however, the woman hurried over, grabbed him, threw him to the ground, got into the vehicle and locked herself inside.

The crook then fled, jumped into a gray four-door sedan parked nearby and sped off along with a second man who had been waiting inside the car, police said.

A bank surveillance camera captured images of the entire robbery and failed carjacking attempt.

Anyone with information about the case was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477 or contact the agency online at sdcrimestoppers.com. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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