Authorities worked Saturday to determine whether a man who was wearing a disguise and led authorities on a chase that ended with a crash in Rancho Santa Margarita, where a standoff ensued until he was found dead in the vehicle, was the so-called Leatherface Bandit.
FBI Special Agent Chris Gicking said the suspect robbed a Pacific Western Bank branch at 34180 Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point at 3:40 p.m. Friday, prompting a pursuit.
Deputies lost sight of the suspect during the chase somewhere in Dana Point, but picked up the trail in Mission Viejo. The pursuit ended when the suspect crashed the white pickup truck he was driving at Banderas and Empresa in Rancho Santa Margarita, said Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The suspect refused to come out of the vehicle, and a large contingent of law enforcement officers gathered at the scene. Investigators later determined the suspect was dead, although it has not been determined how he died, Braun said.
Investigators suspect he may have taken his own life, authorities said.
“We’re looking at the possibility that this guy is related to at least three other robberies besides this robbery,” Gicking told Fox11. Those holdups took place in Yorba Linda on April 9 and two more on March 8 and 9 in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.
“That individual appears to have worn the same disguise that this individual wore (Friday),” Gicking said.
Authorities also recognized a bicycle in the bed of the truck that they believe was used in the robbery in Newport Beach, Fox11 reported.
Investigators believe the suspect was the Leatherface Bandit, who got the moniker because he wears a mask during heists.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: