Imperial Beach bank evacuated after robber leaves suspicious device behind

Bomb squad rendered device safe; no one hurt

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. - An Imperial Beach bank branch was robbed Saturday by a man with a suspicious device he left behind, which prompted an evacuation and a visit from the bomb squad who determined it was not explosive, the FBI and sheriff's officials said.

The suspect approached a teller at Chase Bank at 1122 Palm Ave. about 1:15 p.m. carrying a red Verizon shopping bag from which he pulled a small gray box with wires attached then demanded cash, FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth said. He indicated the item contained explosives, Foxworth said.

With cash in hand, he left the device on the counter and walked away, Foxworth said.

No injuries were reported, but the bank was evacuated and sheriff's explosives experts were called to investigate what the robber had left behind, sheriff's Lt. Karen Stubkjaer said.

The sheriff's Bomb/Arson Unit removed the device and rendered it safe about 3:25 p.m., she said.

The device did not contain explosive materials, Foxworth said.

The suspect was described as a white man who was 19 to 26 years old. He was about 5 feet 8 inches or 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed between 160 and 175 pounds with a medium build.

The man had acne around his mouth, cheeks and nose. He had brown and white wavy hair and possibly had hazel eyes and was wearing a white long-sleeved collared shirt and khaki pants.

He should be considered armed and dangerous, Foxworth said.

Foxworth asked anyone with information to contact the FBI at (858) 565-1255 or to call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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