SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- San Jose police are asking for the public's assistance for clues about a "confident" woman who wore wigs during five recent banks robberies in Milpitas and San Jose and is becoming more threatening, a police detective said Tuesday.
The suspect, who in the first robberies in November calmly produced a note and showed bank tellers a handgun, has lately made verbal threats while brandishing the gun, Detective Enrique Garcia said.
Confident' Bank Robber Suspect Eludes San Jose, Milpitas Police
"What we're concerned with is she keeps escalating in her behavior when she is committing these robberies, we're not sure why," Garcia said.
"She's really confident in the way she approaches the bank," Garcia said. "She enters the bank, waits patiently in line and approaches the teller when it's her turn, engages in small talk, minimal conservation, very polite, very pleasant."
"Obviously she's gaining a little bit of confidence that she's been able to pull five robberies and get away with it," Garcia said. "But what we're trying to do is prevent her from taking it to the next level."
The robberies started on Nov. 9 at Wells Fargo Bank at 139 Ranch Drive in Milpitas, then the Wells Fargo at 1701 N. First St. in San Jose on Nov. 23, Bank of America at 1245 Lincoln Ave. in San Jose on Dec. 11 and Wells Fargo at 1715 Landess Ave. in Milpitas on Dec. 30.
The suspect's latest robbery came at 2:22 p.m. Monday at Comerica Bank at 1289 S. Park Victoria Drive in Milpitas, police said.
Each time the suspect fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash before police arrived and she may be working with one or more accomplices including a lookout and driver, Garcia said.
"We believe they will continue until they get caught," he said.
The suspect in the robberies is likely an African American woman,
5 feet 4 to 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 100 pounds, but it is possible the person is a male in disguise, Garcia said.
Police released to the media today color surveillance photos from some of the banks, showing the suspect wearing long or short dark wigs and dark sunglasses, in hopes that people would recognize her or know something about her, Garcia said.
"We want someone to call in with a tip to tell us who this person is or where they work, where they live, what car do they drive, anything that will help us to complete the case," Garcia said.
"We know that there's someone out there or multiple people out there who will have information," he said.
Police are working closely with Milpitas police, the FBI and the banks in their effort to capture the suspect, Garcia said.
Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Silicon Valley Crimestoppers each are offering $5,000 rewards for information leading to identification and conviction of the suspect, police said.
People with information about the suspect may contact Garcia at the Police Department's robbery unit at (408)277-4166, to leave an anonymous tip by calling Silicon Valley Crimestoppers at (408)947-STOP (7867).
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