Elderly Repeat Bank Robber Strikes Again in San Fernando Valley

Elderly Repeat Bank Robber Strikes Again in San Fernando Valley

An elderly man, identified as Bruce Edward Bell, who had previously served a lengthy prison sentence for bank robberies, targeted two banks in the San Fernando Valley late last year. Testimonies from bank employees and security guards revealed the terrifying moments they experienced during the robberies. The incidents took place at a Chase Bank branch managed by Nancy Esqueda in Sun Valley on December 21, 2023.

Esqueda recounted how she witnessed her security guard being forcefully pushed inside the bank entrance, with a man holding an object to his back. The guard urgently instructed Esqueda to call the police as they were being robbed. The robber, brandishing what appeared to be a gun, proceeded to wave it menacingly at the tellers behind their registers. He then coerced Esqueda to open a security door, granting him access to the tellers’ cash machines.

Marcela Murillo, one of the tellers, testified that the robber grew increasingly impatient as she hurriedly attempted to withdraw cash from the machines. Frustrated, he threatened to shoot all of them in their kneecaps. Despite their efforts, the machines only dispensed $10,000 at a time. Murillo informed the robber that another teller was doing her best to comply.

Bruce Edward Bell, who had spent a significant portion of his life incarcerated, was apprehended by the police shortly after the Chase Bank robbery. He was pulled over in a stolen Volvo, where authorities discovered a replica handgun and $64,000 in cash. Bell had been released from federal prison just three years prior, having served a 40-year sentence for four previous bank robberies.

LAPD detectives revealed that the Sun Valley Chase Bank robbery was the culmination of several successful and attempted robberies committed by Bell, including two in October. In January, Bell was charged with multiple counts, including second-degree robbery, attempted robbery, and kidnapping. He currently remains in custody with a bail set at $1.6 million.

The entire robbery at the Sun Valley bank lasted only a few minutes, although it felt much longer to the terrified employees. Murillo tearfully admitted that she feared for her life, believing that non-compliance would result in her being shot.

Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. This is absolutely disgusting! How is it possible that an elderly man with a history of bank robberies was able to target not just one, but two banks in the San Fernando Valley? It’s outrageous that someone with such a criminal background was allowed to roam freely and potentially put innocent lives at risk. This is a clear failure of our justice system and a complete disregard for public safety. It’s high time that stricter measures are put in place to prevent repeat offenders from committing such heinous crimes again.

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