Berkeley Police are asking for help in identifying a man they say may have been involved in three bank robberies, or attempted bank robberies, over the last few weeks.
The latest attempt was foiled Monday when a teller refused to cooperate.
Police say that a man approached a Wells Fargo teller at the College Avenue branch around noon. The man allegedly told the teller to give him money, and that he was carrying a bomb.
Upon hearing the word “bomb,” the teller backed away from the suspect. When he saw this, the suspect left a suspicious package on the counter and walked away, police said.
The bomb squad was called upon to deal with the package. It was removed from the premises and x-rayed, whereupon it was determined to be a fake, police said. Meanwhile, all traffic within a block of the bank was diverted.
The suspect is described as African American, 30-35 years old, approximately six feet tall and weighing around 180 pounds. He had a goatee, and wore black frame glasses with light blue lenses. He had on shiny blue denim jeans with a matching jacket, a white cap with a dark bill and white shoes with red, or partly red, soles.
Berkeley police say a man with a similar appearance and mode of operation was involved in two previous bank robberies earlier in the month: one at Bank of the West in Orinda on Sept. 4, and one at a branch of the Mechanics’ Bank in Berkeley on Sept. 13.
“We don’t get fake bombs very often, so when something like this comes through, we take notice,” said Detective Steve Rigo.
Anyone who can provide the police with information is asked to call Detective Rigo at 981-5742.
The suspect who attempted to rob a real estate agency Monday morning may also be the suspect in an El Sobrante bank robbery, according to Berkeley Police Sgt. Kay Lantow.
The suspect, described as a 5 feet 6 inches, 180 pound white or Latino male in his early 20s with a mustache, walked into the real estate office on 1400 block of Shattuck Avenue Monday and demanded money, apparently thinking he was in a bank, Lantow said. When an employee of the agency said, “excuse me,” the suspect grabbed her by the arm and pulled out a small steel automatic pistol and said, “this is not a joke”
The worker told the man that he was in a real estate agency and not a bank and the suspect left, according to Lantow.
The suspect was wearing a blue beanie, a blue sweater and blue jeans; he fit the description of a man that El Sobrante police gave chase to after he allegedly robbed a bank in their jurisdiction, Lantow said. No further information about the El Sobrante case is available.