MASON CITY | A man who robbed a Mason City credit union armed with an AK-47 is believed to be a serial bank robber suspected of six heists in five states, police said Wednesday.
The man, dubbed the AK-47 Bandit, shot and severely wounded a California police officer during a robbery in 2012. There is a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
Police say the man who entered Iowa Heartland Credit Union, 1602 S. Monroe Ave., Tuesday wearing a black ski mask and gloves carried the serial bank robber's weapon of choice, an AK-47 rifle, outfitted with a high-capacity magazine.
The Mason City incident matches the description of incidents already linked to the AK-47 Bandit, said Mason City Police Lt. Rich Jensen.
"Consistent M.O., if you will," he said. "The weapon. Appearance of the robber. Appears that they acted alone."
Employees were ordered into the vault and an "improvised explosive device" was left behind. Police say they were notified of the crime several minutes after the robber left the credit union.
The device was "rendered safe" by the Iowa Fire Marshal's Office, police said.
Officials won't say what the device contained or how much money was taken. No one was hurt.
The AK-47 Bandit is suspected of six robberies in five states: California, Washington state, Idaho, Nebraska and now Iowa.
You have free articles remaining.
He's also suspected in an attempted robbery at a bank in Sacramento in 2012.
Information about the Mason City robbery was relayed to the intelligence division of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. The California agency and Mason City police were in contact within 90 minutes of Tuesday's incident.
Chino, California, police have been investigating the case since the man now dubbed the AK-47 Bandit shot and severely wounded a Chino police officer in a bank heist on Feb. 29, 2012.
The officer was shot while interrupting a carjacking as the suspect fled. The officer survived.
"Our officer barely survived that encounter," said Chino Police Lt. Andrew Bjelland, who was in Mason City on Wednesday. "We're very fearful if he's not caught that another officer that stumbles upon him may not be as fortunate."
The robber was last seen in Mason City driving a 2007-2009 black or dark-colored Toyota Camry LE. The license plate was obscured.
He is described as a 5-foot-9-inch to 6-foot-tall white man in his 20s to 40s with a medium build. He may have blue eyes.
The suspect is considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information the incident can contact local police or call CrimeStoppers at 800-383-0088.