A "brazen" trio has robbed nearly two dozen Los Angeles area banks in the span of seven months and police, worried that the bandits' attempts may become violent, appealed last week to the public for help in catching them.
The suspects are still on the loose, Det. Joe Harris with the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division told NBC News Friday, a week after the department released security footage of the three men and asked the public to call in any information that might lead to their arrests.
The LAPD decided to release the videos because police have "had it" with the volume of heists connected with the group — 23 since November, Harris said.
"They're hitting all over the place," he said.
Typically, the thieves casually walk into their target bank and one hands a teller a note, according to the LAPD. "They demand money and claim to be armed while threatening violence if their demands are not met," said a statement from the department.
No one has been physically hurt to date by the robbers, who have been dubbed the "Cold Hand Bandits" because one of the suspects wore winter gloves during one of the first robberies, said Laura Eimiller with the Los Angeles FBI office. But authorities worry that the violent threats on the notes might become reality if the robbers don't get what they want.
The FBI is working with the LAPD, along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Alhambra Police Department, Pasadena Police Department and Long Beach Police Department to identify and catch the three suspects, who are considered "armed and dangerous," according to the LAPD.
"It is scary," said the manager of a bank that the "Cold Hand Bandits" have robbed twice.
The manager, who didn't want to be identified for security reasons, told NBC News she will be on edge until the robbers are caught, but the chance of robberies is always a fear. "Working with cash, that’s the worry that we have every day," she said.
The most recent robbery took place in late April and was a repeat performance at a bank in the city of Artesia that the suspects had robbed ten days earlier, according to security footage released by the LAPD that showed portions of five different robberies.
Footage from April 18 shows a single robber handing a teller a note and then exiting with a wad of cash she hands him.
In footage from April 28, one of the suspects wanders the lobby of the bank, brandishing what appears to be a gun, while another suspect jumps over the counter. At least two tellers drop to the floor as the robber behind the counter opens drawers, using his shirt in an apparent bid to avoid leaving behind fingerprints.
One teller gets up to open a drawer that requires a key, and the robber fills a bag with what appears to be cash before he and the man with the gun run out of the bank.
"This isn’t amateur hour," Det. Charles Geiger of the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division told NBC Los Angeles. "The next level is people get tied up, maybe somebody gets hurt.”