'Dreaded Bandit' had previous history of bank heists

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SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- The so-called "Dreaded Bandit," made a court appearance Tuesday. He got his nickname because of the fake beard and dreadlocks he wore during a series of takeover-style bank robberies he's responsible for in the Bay Area. Officials from the FBI said the man was in custody and was arrested on Monday,

KTVU's Henry Lee learned in court that the suspect has a long history of robbing banks. 

According to an online report, Andre Mitchell Brown, the 59-year-old suspect was taken into custody in San Francisco's Richmond District with an accomplice as the two were apparently getting ready to stage yet another robbery.

Police say Brown is a convicted bank robber who spent 27 years in prison for an earlier spree. Sources say tips helped lead police to begin secretly following Brown 

"So the cops tailed him to the busy corner here of the 19th and Geary where there's a bank at every corner. He could have had his pick of any one of them," said SFPD Officer Carlos Manfredi. 

Brown was under surveillance on Friday when he chose Sterling Bank and walked up to it with a loaded .38 caliber revolver. Again, authorities said he was wearing a disguise.  Police say a woman and child were nearby as cops swooped in to arrest him. 

Authorities arrested the accomplice, an alleged getaway driver, 44-year-old Javier Jenkins when they found him sitting in the suspected getaway vehicle, a Lexus. 

"I think it's fantastic, especially knowing he was in the neighborhood," said Heather Gloe, a San Francisco resident. 

Brown was released from federal prison last year after holding up banks in the '80s. 

"You do a life of crime, you do a lot of time, you go back to what you're used to doing, or what you know best," said Officer Manfredi. 

  • July 11, when witnesses said he wore white make-up resembling a clown's face. He jumped over the counter, took money from teller drawers and the bank's vault before escaping through a side door.
  • June 23 and then on July 11, the FBI says it believes the same man then set his sights on a Comerica Bank at Union and Buchanan streets in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood. The man is responsible for robbing the same bank twice, authorities said. 
  • May 12, the man targeted the Provident Credit Union on South El Camino Real in San Mateo. Once again, he was armed and was wearing makeup.
  • April 22: The First Republic Bank at Van Ness Avenue and Jackson Street in San Francisco was targeted. The suspect brandished a revolver and forced five employees to go to the back of the bank. He stole money and fled.

Federal authorities had issued a $10,000 reward last month for information leading to the man's capture. It was not immediately clear if anyone would be given the reward.