Indio bank robber identified as FBI person of interest

POSTED: 11:07 PM PST Nov 23, 2012    UPDATED: 08:15 AM PST Nov 24, 2012 
Indio Bank Robbery
INDIO, Calif. -

An investigation by Indio Police Detectives revealed that Michael Patrick Downing from Chino Hills, is wanted by the FBI as a person of interest in nine other bank robberies in San Bernardino, Orange, and Riverside Counties.  The 47-year-old is known as the "Desperate Bandit."  The FBI investigation is ongoing.  Downing is being held at the Riverside County Sheriff's Department Jail Facility in Indio on robbery charges.

Indio Police confirm that the First Bank on Avenue 42 near Jackson Street was robbed just after 11:30 a.m.  Indio Police Spokesman Ben Guitron confirms a male suspect entered the bank in North Indio on Jackson street at 11:37.

The suspect told the teller he was armed.  The teller gave the robber an undisclosed amount of cash.  The suspect was later spotted in a car driving on Jackson Street heading towards I-10.

After a short pursuit the suspect was pulled over on the freeway just between Washington and Cook Street and was later arrested. The suspect has not been identified at this time. 

Indio Police also called for assistance from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Explosive Ordinance Team for some sort of suspicious device or substance discovered in the suspect's car.

The Bomb squad shut down the Westbound I-10 and also Varner Road for a total of 13 minutes says a Riverside County Sheriff's Department spokesman.  The road was opened just after 3:00 p.m. 

The spokesman would not say what the bomb squad found in the car but would only say that it was rendered safe.