AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Police in San Bernardino, Calif. believe they have a robbery suspect in custody who may be linked to dozens of robberies in the Denver metro area.
Officers have reason to believe the suspect, who is a juvenile, may be the 32 Bandit. The suspect was arrested Wednesday night along with another suspect, after two robberies.
The 32 Bandit has struck at least two dozen businesses in the Denver metro area in the past six weeks. The most recent was a Jimmy Johns restaurant in Greenwood Village March 15.
Often his tactic is to enter a business, wave a gun and go for cash. He has frequently targeted sandwich shops.
San Bernardino Police arrested the 17-year-old because he had a warrant connected to a December 27, 2011 robbery in Aurora. That robbery happened before the 32 Bandit crime spree began.
Police said both teens match descriptions given of the 32 Bandit.
“The caller said they had been robbed by a dark-skinned male in a mask, a grey hoodie sweatshirt and was carrying a gun,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff Department spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman.
According to police in San Bernardino, a store was robbed by a dark-skinned man wearing a mask and a grey “hoodie” sweatshirt with grey sweatpants at about 6:27 p.m. Wednesday. The robber also had a handgun.
“Both suspects were dressed in a similar fashion, grey sweatshirt, grey sweatpants, both with a handgun,” said Bachman.
Fifteen minutes later, another store was robbed by a suspect wearing the same outfit and armed with a handgun. During that robbery, two off-duty Los Angeles County Officers observed the suspect leaving the scene in a grey Honda Accord with Colorado license plates. The suspects were followed to a 7-Eleven store in Rancho Cucamonga.
During a search of the vehicle, police say evidence was found linking the 17-year-olds to both robberies. The follow-up investigation by police in California revealed the two teens were already wanted by law enforcement in Colorado for more than 28 robberies as well as other crimes.
The suspects are both 17-years-old, one is described as white, 5-foot-11, 157 pounds, the other is described as arabic, 5-foot-7, 145 pounds.
Investigators from Arapahoe County may travel to California to determine if the teens arrested Wednesday match those captured in surveillance footage during robberies in Colorado.
The reward for information leading to an arrest of the 32 Bandit had been increased to $12,000 in recent weeks.
The FBI began helping Denver metro area police agencies with the investigation earlier this month.