FBI blames trio of serial bank robbers for spike in San Diego County bank robberies

73 robberies so far in 2014

SAN DIEGO - The number of bank robberies in San Diego County is up dramatically so far this year compared to 2013, and the FBI says it's because of a trio of serial bank robbers.

The FBI has dubbed one of those robbers "El Chaparrito", and Special Agent Darrell Foxworth told 10News, "It's basically called the 'Short Bandit' or the 'Shorty Bandit.'"

In the last 10 months, the FBI has pinned 14 bank heists on El Chaparrito -- all in San Diego County.

"He's very demonstrative. He goes in there, he's got his hands up in the air, he's yelling at people," Foxworth said. "He's very bold. He will tell people to either get their hands up or to get down on the ground."

The FBI said he's robbed several tellers in the same bank and even demands specific denominations, such as $10s, $20s and $50s.

El Chaparrito is so bold that on Aug. 30 he robbed the North Island Credit Union on Mira Mesa Boulevard, and then he walked just a few feet to the US Bank next door and robbed it.

"He's very threatening when he goes into the banks. This is someone we want to get off the streets sooner than later," Foxworth said.

El Chaparrito is one reason the number of bank robberies is up more than 25 percent from this time last year, according to the FBI.

There have been 73 so far in 2014, but there were 57 at this time last year.

According to the FBI, the "Mole Bandit" and "Hills Bandit" are two more serial bank robbers responsible for nine total heists.

However, those robbers don't stack up to the "Geezer Bandit," who the FBI said robbed 16 banks and has yet to be caught.

As for El Chaparrito, he always wears gloves, a ball cap, a hoodie and is very careful to cover his face.

He is believed to be between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall and 25-35 years old.

There is a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of El Chaparrito.

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