Bank robber pleads guilty to Chase bank heist

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

The suspect charged with the robbery of a Chase bank in Diamond Bar and connected to a robbery at a Valencia Chase bank pleaded guilty in court recently.

Forrest Colby Rowe, 49, of San Bernardino, pleaded guilty March 9 to a single count of bank robbery, according to officials.

“Mr. Rowe pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery,” said Ciaran McEvoy, public affairs officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson has scheduled a May 18 sentencing hearing.”

Rowe was convicted for the Jan. 4 robbery of a bank on South Diamond Bar Boulevard, according to the terms of the plea.

On that day, Rowe walked into the bank wearing a dark hat and distinguishable clothing and approached the teller’s window, the plea read.

“(Rowe) slipped a note underneath the teller window for the teller to read. This note indicated that he had a gun, demanded money be placed in a blue zippered money envelope and instructed the teller to place the demand note inside the money envelope with the money,” according to the plea.

Except for criminal tax violations, the government agreed to not further prosecute Rowe for the Jan. 6 robbery of the Chase bank on Valencia Boulevard, as well as bank robberies in Yorba Linda and Tujunga.

The Valencia robbery occurred in a very similar fashion to the Diamond Bar robbery, according to prosecutors: a blue envelope was used, and the suspect told the teller he had a gun and to “give him all the money she could.”

On Jan. 9, investigators had tracked Rowe’s cell phone to a hotel in San Bernardino where he was subsequently arrested. The hat used during the robberies was found in the hotel room, and the vehicle used in the robberies, a silver Mustang, was parked nearby and contained the wigs, blue envelope and handwritten demand note.

“The statutory maximum sentence for this offense is 20 years,” said McEvoy. “An exact sentence will be determined later by the judge.”

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