'Bad Santa' waves gun during bank robbery

January 2, 2008 2:06:35 PM PST
The FBI Houston Bank Robbery Task Force is seeking the public's assistance in identifying a man wearing a fake beard who threatened customers and tellers with a pistol during a robbery that took place on Friday, December 28.At approximately 10:50am, the gunman entered the Capital One Bank at 8401 Westheimer in Houston, pulled out a black semi automatic handgun, charged the slide, and told everyone in the bank not to move. "Bad Santa" handed a black computer-type briefcase to the tellers and ordered them to fill it up with money.

As the tellers placed the cash into the briefcase, "Bad Santa" pointed his weapon at customers and the tellers, ordering the tellers not to activate any alarms. When the bag was full, he grabbed it and fled the bank on foot.

"Bad Santa" is described as a possibly white male, 28-45 years old, 5'10" to 6'02" tall, average build, with a fake sandy blond beard. He was wearing a black knit cap, green jacket, black scarf, white shirt, black pants, and large sunglasses.

There were 22 takeover style bank robberies investigated by the task force in 2007. There were 10 such robberies in 2006. According to investigators, a takeover style robbery is characterized by the robber's use of a weapon to control the actions of everyone in the bank, customers and tellers alike. There have been eight takeover style robberies in the Houston area in the last quarter of 2007, and this increase concerns investigators, as the danger to the public significantly increases the more aggressively a weapon is brandished.

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and arrest of "Bad Santa" or any other felony suspect. If you have information regarding this case, call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 713-222-8477 (TIPS).