California's "Geezer Bandit" may not be old

Witnesses describe the gunman who's been holding California banks with regularity as being in his sixties or seventies. But appearances can be deceptive, and the so-called "Geezer Bandit" might even be a "whippersnapper."

CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports that he looks more like a grandfather than a hardened criminal, but this unassuming senior citizen is one of the FBI's most-wanted bank robbers. Dubbed "The Geezer Bandit" by law enforcement, he's the primary suspect in a string of brazen hold-ups -- hitting 15 banks across southern California, and getting away with tens of thousands of dollars.

"He appears to be a harmless, elderly man," said Darrel Foxworth.

Special Agent Darrel Foxworth has tried to crack the Geezer case since 2009, when the robber first hit a bank near San Diego. Now, two years and more than a dozen banks later, the FBI says the Geezer has struck again -- robbing a San Diego-area Wells Fargo on September 30th. Surveillance video shows him calmly waiting in line. After he approaches the teller, he demands a large sum of money, and pulls out a gun.

"He came in, requested money, passed a note, and said, 'If you don't, I will murder you and everyone else in the bank,'" said "Emily," a bank teller victim who requested her identity be concealed.

Emily feared for her life when the Geezer Bandit robbed her bank last January. She believes The Geezer is concealing his identity.

"Something didn't look normal. It wasn't a normal face," Emily said.

The Geezer Bandit might not be "a geezer" at all. Witnesses think his deeply wrinkled face looks unnatural, and that his voice sounds younger than he appears. So the FBI is considering the possibility that the Geezer get-up is an elaborate disguise.

It's happened before. Last year, a young man transformed himself with a Geezer-esque mask and boarded a plane from Hong Kong to Canada. And a Los Angeles special effects costume company sells masks online that look strikingly similar to The Geezer Bandit.

His story has sparked a media sensation. He has more than 11,000 Facebook fans, with some selling Geezer merchandise, but the FBI is not amused.

"At the end of the day, he's an armed and dangerous bank robber," FBI agent Foxworth said.

There's now a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

  • Bill Whitaker

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