'Desperate Bandit' suspect arrested after Indio bank robbery

INDIO, Calif.

The bandit was linked to at least seven bank robberies in the past three months spanning the Inland Empire and Orange County. Police took a man into custody on Friday, and investigators believe him to be the "Desperate Bandit."

Police responded to a robbery at the First Bank on the 81900 block of Avenue 42 in Indio at about 11:37 a.m.

Investigators say the suspect handed a teller a note stating he had a gun and wanted money. The teller complied, and the suspect took off with an undisclosed amount of money.

Officers tracked down the suspect on the 10 Freeway near the Monroe Street Bridge. At the time of the arrest, evidence linked to the First Bank robbery was found in the suspect's car.

Investigators identified the suspect as 47-year-old Michael Patrick Downing of Chino Hills.

Robberies linked to the "Desperate Bandit" include banks in Chino, Fullerton, Anaheim, Tustin, Corona, Placentia and La Habra from August through October.

Authorities began using the nickname "Desperate Bandit" after the suspect committed multiple robberies wearing different disguises such as wigs, mustaches and eyeglasses.

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