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Suspected Bandaged Bank Bandit Caught

MORENO VALLEY- A suspect who disguised himself in bandages and a neck brace in a series of bank robberies in Riverside County may have been caught, authorities said.

Jaime Erick Cooth, 21, of Moreno Valley, was arrested Wednesday in connection with a robbery at the Arrowhead Credit Union in Norco on Jan. 31, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

“This investigation is continuing with additional criminal charges anticipated against the suspect,” sheriff’s Sgt. Jaime Briones said.

Briones said Cooth may also be tied to a Nov. 26 hold-up at the Bank of America on Iris Avenue in Moreno Valley; a Dec. 8 robbery at Wescom Credit Union on Grand Oaks Street in Corona; a Dec. 24 robbery at Point Loma Credit Union on Van Buren Boulevard in Riverside; a Dec. 29 robbery of Banco Popular on North McKinley Avenue in Corona; and a Jan. 17 hold-up at Visterra Credit Union on Eucalyptus Avenue in Moreno Valley.

In each robbery, the suspect concealed his identity using a medical neck brace, a floppy hat and adhesive tape across his nose, as if injured, authorities said.

“The suspect would give the bank teller a handwritten note, demanding money and threatening that he was armed with a gun,” Briones said.

The bandit fled several robberies in a black older-model Mercedes-Benz that had “unique colored chrome rims,” the sergeant said.

A task force composed of sheriff’s deputies, Corona police, and FBI agents was formed to investigate the robberies.

Briones said a Mercedes-Benz with characteristics similar to the one described in several hold-ups was spotted by sheriff’s deputies at an am/pm minimart on Alessandro Boulevard and Graham Street last Wednesday. Cooth was driving the vehicle and arrested in the ensuing investigation, according to Briones.

The suspect is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail at Robert Presley Detention Center in downtown Riverside.

KESQ News Team

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