A man who robbed a bank in Nebraska at gunpoint earlier this month matches the description of the so-called "AK-47 Bandit," who shot and seriously wounded a Chino police officer during a bank heist in 2012, authorities said Sunday.
The nickname refers to the type of assault rifle the man has brandished while targeting five banks in four states, including Washington and Idaho, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He was carrying such a weapon in one hand and a duffel bag in the other when he walked into the First Nebraska Bank in Nebraska City on the afternoon of Aug. 22, wearing a black ski mask, black gloves and possibly body armor, the FBI said.
The man instructed bank workers to retrieve money from teller drawers and the safe, then ordered all employees into the safe and told them to stay there until he departed the location, authorities said.
"We want to make everyone aware of how violent this individual is," Chino police Detective Carlos Dominguez said at a news conference Sunday in Nebraska. "He's not afraid to pull the trigger. He's already shot a police officer. So anybody who gives him any resistance, he's not afraid to act."
Dominguez was referring to a February 2012 incident in which the man shot a Chino Police Department officer after robbing the California Bank & Trust in that city.
The officer had been patrolling the area when he encountered the robber, who was fleeing the bank.
At the time, the man was seen driving a dark gray Nissan Maxima, model year 2009 to 2011, with dark tinted windows, chrome stock wheels and an Arizona license plate on the front end. He is believed to have used the same vehicle later in 2012 during a Vacaville bank heist and an attempted bank robbery in Sacramento, the FBI said.
In what investigators believe was a diversionary tactic, a man used a pay phone in the area to call the 911 dispatch center and make a threat before the branch was robbed.
The "AK-47 Bandit" is described as white, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, 180 to 220 pounds, with distinctive blue eyes.
A $100,000 reward has been offered in the case.
Anyone with information is asked to call their nearest FBI office or the Chino Police Department at 909-628-1234.