A man wanted for an armed robbery at a credit union in Rexburg has been linked to the AK-47 Bandit, a notorious serial bank robber wanted for similar armed robberies in other states, according to the FBI.
According to a wanted poster provided by the FBI, the serial bank robber is wanted for three armed robberies in California and one in Washington, including one where he seriously wounded a police officer.
Each time, a suspect matching the description of the Rexburg suspect has used an AK-47 assault rifle with a drum magazine.
Anyone with information as to the identity or whereabouts of the AK-47 Bandit should refrain from approaching the suspect and is urged to contact law enforcement immediately.
The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case of an armed man who held up the Rexburg branch of the credit union on Wednesday, shutting employees and customers in a safe and escaping with an undisclosed amount of money.
In addition, officials from the East Idaho Credit Union are including their own $20,000 reward.
"He was definitely a professional," said Grayson Sabin, a BYU-Idaho student who was in the bank at the time. Click here to read Sabin's account as to what happened inside the bank.
The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Rexburg branch location at 412 Grand Loop, just north of Trejo Street.
The man is described as a 5-foot-10 caucasian with eyes possibly hazel in color, weighing between 200-230 pounds, with a heavy build. He was wearing a dark colored coat and baggy blue jeans. He was also wearing a dark colored ski mask and using dark gloves. Police say the weapon he carried appears to be an assault rifle. No one was injured during the robbery.
The suspect was last seen heading south on South Yellowstone Highway in a dark blue or black car with tinted windows, unique LED tail lights and red-and-white license plates. During the robbery the car was parked in a parking stall for the handicapped near the door of the building.
Rexburg Police Capt. Randy Lewis said the man forced several employees and several customers at gunpoint into the walk-in safe. He said some small children were among those forced into the safe.
Lewis said the suspect did not enter the safe, but forced employees to give him money from it. With the employees and customers still inside the safe, the suspect then slammed the door shut, but it did not latch.
The amount of money taken has not been released.
Police originally responded to a hold-up alarm set off at the credit union. It is unknown if it was automatic or if one of the employees set it off.
The armed robbery set off a manhunt in other areas of Rexburg as heavily armed police stopped cars on roads leading from the area around the credit union to search for the suspect. A perimeter was immediately set up surrounding the credit union.
As of 7:10 p.m., police had the roads around the credit union cordoned off while Rexburg police detectives investigated inside.
Rexburg police are heading up the investigation with Madison County deputies, the FBI and other police agencies assisting in the search for the suspect.
Around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, a reverse 911 call from Madison County Dispatch went out to residents in the surrounding Rexburg area.
Lewis said the automated call was initiated as a precaution and to gain information from the public if anyone observed anything applicable to the crime.
"We didn't feel that the community was at immediate risk, but we wanted to let the public know what was going on," he said.