Police Chief John Incontro Credits ‘Great Teamwork’ for Arrest of Noted Bank Robber.
By Mitch Lehman
San Marino police officers last Thursday, Sept. 10 pursued and arrested a man believed to have robbed eight banks in Southern California over the past two months.
Joseph Noriega, 37, of Rancho Cucamonga – known by the moniker “Bluto Bandit” – was taken into custody by SMPD officers in Rosemead after he tried to rob a South Pasadena branch of Chase Bank, but fled in a white Volkswagen Jetta before getting any money.
During his robberies, Noriega wore a fake black beard that bore a resemblance to the thuggish Bluto character from the ‘Popeye’ cartoons, hence the nickname.
According to police reports, Noriega attempted to rob the Chase Bank located at 1305 Fair Oaks Avenue in South Pasadena bank at 12:23 p.m. by passing a note to a teller. He abruptly left the building and was spotted heading south by a bank employee. South Pasadena Police were called and searched the area, to no avail.
A broadcast was sent to surrounding agencies, including the Pasadena Police Department’s Air Support Division, which scrambled to the area Noriega was believed to be headed.
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