Search for suspected bank robber in Chula Vista prompts lockdown

Vista Square Elementary School locked down

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A South Bay bank and a pedestrian on a nearby roadside were robbed in quick succession Monday, possibly by the same thief, according to Chula Vista police.

A bald man who appeared to be in his mid-30s handed a demand note to a teller at a Union Bank office on H Street in Chula Vista shortly after 9 a.m., according to police.

The bandit, whose written message included a threat about a bomb, fled with an undisclosed amount of money, leaving behind what appeared to be an ordinary portable radio, Capt. Gary Wedge said. Officers impounded the device and were inspecting it Monday afternoon to determine if it was any type of hazard.

About 20 minutes after the bank holdup, a man of similar description snatched a bank-deposit bag from a pedestrian about to enter a Wells Fargo branch on the same street, according to Wedge. The victim told police the suspected thief struck him and then took the bag.

Administrators at nearby Chula Vista Middle School and Vista Square Elementary put the campuses on lockdown for 45 minutes to an hour while officers searched the area by ground and aboard a sheriff's helicopter, finding no suspect.

Investigators believe both robberies might have been committed by the same man.

"There are enough similarities to where it's a pretty strong possibility," the captain said.

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