Alleged Santa Clarita bank robber appears in court

A Chase bank on the 24000 block of Valencia Boulevard was robbed around 3:15 p.m. on Monday. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Forrest Rowe, arrested Jan. 9 on suspicion of robbing a Chase bank branch in Santa Clarita, appeared in court in Pomona on Monday.

Although the criminal complaint does not list the bank robbery that occurred on Jan. 6 next to City Hall as a specific charge, U.S. Attorney’s Office representatives said the charge could expand to include additional allegations.

Law enforcement officials suspect Rowe of being connected to five bank robberies that occurred between Dec. 23 and Jan. 6 in the cities of Yorba Linda, Fallbrook, Tujunga, Diamond Bar and Valencia.

He faces charges so far in only the Diamond Bar robbery, according to the criminal complaint.

“Mr. Rowe made his initial court appearance (Monday) in federal court,” said Ciaran McEvoy, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “He was ordered detained. He is in federal custody.”

The complaint lists the Diamond Bar robbery as happening on Jan. 4, two days before the Valencia robbery allegedly occurred.

In both the Diamond Bar and Valencia robberies, Rowe allegedly walked in and handed a bank teller an envelope that said he had a gun and to give him the money, according to the criminal complaint.

Law enforcement officials tracked Rowe’s cellphone to a hotel in San Bernardino, where a search warrant was issued. He was formally arrested on suspicion of felony bank robbery shortly after midnight.

Court documents indicated FBI officials found clothes that matched those worn by the suspect seen in bank surveillance footage, a silver Mustang that matched the one used in the Diamond Bar bank robbery and a note inside a Chase envelope that read, “ATT: Robbery No Hero’s (sic) No Alarms I have a gun. Just relax. Nothing funny. No alarms no die (sic) packs no hero’s (sic) nobody will get hurt put the note and money in the bag,” during a search of the hotel room where Rowe was staying.

FBI agents tied Rowe to the crimes based on similarities in the robberies that witnesses noticed, as well as descriptions of the suspect and evidence found in Rowe’s hotel room, according to the complaint.

Deputy Maria Lucero at the L.A County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said his bail had been set at $1 million.

His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 31, according to McEvoy.

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