Peninsula continues to be pummeled by bank heists

The list of Peninsula bank robberies this year continued to climb with two more heists in the last two days as local enforcement agencies and the FBI hunt down a possible serial robber.

With bank heists Tuesday and Wednesday, the tally of robberies this month in San Mateo County has reached four. Through May, there were 124 bank robberies throughout the Bay Area, a 59 percent jump from the first five months of last year, including 46 in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, according to FBI statistics.

The latest heist struck a Wells Fargo Bank on the 100 block of South Ellsworth Avenue in San Mateo, Lt. Mike Brunicardi said.

He said the suspect in Wednesday’s robbery was described as a Middle Eastern man in his 20s. He wore his black hair in a ponytail, was wearing sunglasses and had several tattoos down both arms, he said.

He reportedly passed a note demanding money to a teller around 10:25 a.m. and then fled on foot southbound on South Ellsworth Avenue.

On Tuesday, a man wearing a black wig and baseball cap strolled into a Wells Fargo Bank on Woodside Road, Capt. Chris Cesena said, and demanded cash verbally while clutching onto a black duffel bag.The thief, described as a white man in his late 30s who used a bicycle as his getaway vehicle, also may have been responsible for a similar bank robbery in San Bruno as far back as 2006, Cesena said.

Local police departments and the FBI have linked Tuesday’s robber with at least nine other robberies. The serial robber, however, does not appear to be responsible for the Wednesday heist at the Wells Fargo Bank, police said.

“We’re working with other agencies in the East Bay and Santa Clara County and have been in contact with the FBI,” Cesena said. “We’ll start comparing investigations and see what the next steps are.”

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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