Bank robber connected to Valencia heist pleads not guilty

A Chase bank on the 24000 block of Valencia Boulevard was robbed around 3:15 p.m. on Monday. Signal file photo

A man suspected to be connected with a Chase bank robbery in Valencia pleaded not guilty to one count of bank robbery in federal court Monday.

Forrest Rowe, 49, of San Bernardino, was arrested by law enforcement personnel on Jan. 9 on suspicion that he robbed a Diamond Bar bank on Jan. 4, two days before the Valencia robbery allegedly occurred.

In a criminal complaint filed in court, authorities say they believe Rowe was also responsible for bank robberies in Yorba Linda, Fallbrook, Tujunga, Diamond Bar and Valencia. He was only charged in connection to the Diamond Bar robbery, according to Ciaran McEvoy, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“He had a plea and trial setting today,” said McEvoy on Monday. “It’s just one count of bank robbery attached to the Diamond Bar bank robbery.”

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

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, where he was arrested, according to the complaint.

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

His next appearance in court is set for March 17.

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