CHULA VISTA - A statewide manhunt is under way for an armed thief who has hit more than a dozen businesses in Southern California – including two in the South Bay – while wearing a black or blonde wig.
The manager of the Seafood City grocery store on East Orange Avenue in Chula Vista told 10News the same man held up two businesses inside his store twice in May and June. The manager said both times the robber wore a blonde wig and women's clothing.
The Los Angeles Police Department released video of an attempted heist where the robber walks in wearing sunglasses and a black wig.
He appears to be talking on his cell phone when he suddenly tries to scale the Plexiglas barrier. When he could not get over it, he just turned around and walked out.
Los Angeles police say this same cross-dressing robber is behind 13 robberies of money transfer businesses in Los Angeles and two in Chula Vista.
Wilbert Bruce was around for one of them inside Seafood City.
"The chopper was running around, going back and forth and they were looking for an Asian guy with blonde hair," Bruce said.
He did not flinch when he heard the robber was wearing a blonde wig.
"The way today's society is, you see a black guy with blonde hair you wouldn't think nothing of it," he said.
But Bruce and others were surprised that the money wiring business and a pawn shop – also inside the Seafood City grocery store – were held up at gunpoint in the middle of the day.
A 10News camera was there as police investigated. A worker told 10News the thief got away with tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry and cash from one heist.
A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to this man's arrest.