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True Crime Files: Geezer Bandit was no geezer

Bank teller during 2011 robbery speaks out for the first time.

SAN DIEGO — The Geezer Bandit committed 16 bank robberies over the course of two years, between 2009 and 2011.

Eleven of those heists took place in San Diego County, but the Geezer Bandit was never caught.

A bank teller working during one of those robberies in 2011 spoke out for the first time.

“He had a note, like, on a small, torn piece of paper,” said Melissa Teixeira, the teller who came face-to-face with the Geezer at the Heritage Oaks Bank in Morro Bay nine years ago.

“It was me and one other teller. We were the only tellers at the time and we were right next to each other,” Teixeira said.

The Geezer Bandit handed a note to the other teller first and pulled out a handgun.

“He didn't seem like he was in a hurry. I really wanted to press the button, but he had a gun pointed at her and I didn't want to risk anything,” Teixeira recalled.

Next, the bandit turned his attention to Teixeira.

“He said, ‘Give me both your drawers.  I don't want any dye packs or I'll come back for you.’  I said okay and I just handed him the money and he put it into a bag,” the teller said.

One detail still stands out in Teixeira’s mind.

“I know he was wearing a mask. When he first came in, the color of his face seemed very off.  It seemed almost, like, waxy.  I noticed that there was a circular hole right in the center of the ear.  And, I realized it was a mask,” Teixeira said.

The teller’s account confirms what a News 8 viewer first reported to us in 2011: The geezer looked like he was wearing a mask and it resembled a so-called “elder mask” made by a company in Hollywood.

Detectives later served a search warrant on that Hollywood mask company, seeking the names of all customers who had purchased the old man mask. But, apparently, investigators never found their man.

Even if the Geezer Bandit was identified these days, he could no longer be charged with a crime. The federal statute of limitations for bank robbery is five years. The California state statute of limitations for robbery is six years.

The Geezer Bandit crime spree suddenly stopped in December 2011, right after his final bank robbery in San Luis Obispo, when a red dye pack exploded inside the Geezer's money bag.

Surveillance video showed the robber sprinting across the street, further confirming that the Geezer was not a geezer at all.

“Younger, I'd say in his twenties or thirties,” said Teixeira.

The teller also recalled that a young, thin, white man with blonde hair was inside the bank and acting suspiciously, about two weeks before the 2011 robbery in Morro Bay.

“There had been a customer, or a potential customer, that came in previously asking about our bank accounts, and kind of looking around and he just seemed very off,” she said.

Teixeira said she reported the man to the FBI, but he was never identified.

“I think about this all the time and I always wondered what happened. Why did he stop? Who was he?” Teixeira said.

The FBI told News 8 the Geezer Bandit case is officially closed because the robber can no longer be prosecuted.