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[whitespace] Robbers target two Cupertino banks

Cupertino--Cupertino banks were the victims of unrelated robberies in the last two weeks.

The Wells Fargo Bank at 10260 De Anza Blvd. was burglarized after hours. Sometime between 6 p.m. on Sept. 14 and 7 a.m. on Sept. 15, someone smashed the front-door window, pried open a cabinet and removed approximately $800, said sherif's spokesman Sgt. John Hirokawa.

On Sept. 21 at 9:45 a.m., four employees of East West Bank, at 10945 N. Wolfe Road, were held at gunpoint as an armed robber made off with $42,000 in cash. No customers were in the bank at the time and no one was injured.

A man, wearing a black knit ski cap with eye holes and armed with a black, semi-automatic handgun, herded the East West employees into the vault and made them lie face down on the floor.

The suspect took one or two employees out of the vault and locked the front door. He then ordered them to empty the cash drawers and automatic teller machine, Hirokawa said.

The money was put into a sack described as a type of gym bag.

After gathering the cash, the man made the employees return to the vault, where he made them lay down.

"The bank employees waited a while to make sure he left the bank and then they called us several minutes later," Hirokawa said.

The suspect was in the bank for 10 to 15 minutes.

The suspect is described as an adult male, approximately 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds. He was wearing tan cargo pants with an outside pocket at the right knee and a navy blue jacket with a peach colored paint spot on the lower left sleeve. The man was also wearing brown shoes and tight gloves.

Employees believe the man had olive skin, Hirokawa said.

In both incidents, the sheriff's office is not releasing any information regarding surveillance cameras.

The sheriff's office does not believe the two incidents are connected.

"They are two distinct, separate crimes," Hirokawa said. "When you have a smashed window and when you have somebody going into the bank and threatening people, those are two different types of crimes. Most likely, they are two different, unrelated suspects."

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Randy Bynum at 408.299.2211.
Michelle Ku

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Web extra to the September 30-October 6, 1999 issue of Metro.

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