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For Immediate Release:  March 28, 2024


A man wanted for impersonating FBI Agents to rob banks four years ago turned himself in at the U.S. Courthouse in Reno, Nevada, yesterday afternoon, it was announced today.   The man, Joseph Case Burgum, 52, of Riverside County, California, surrendered to federal authorities in connection with the four year old bank robbery investigation into the identity of the “Impersonator Bandit.”  The name was generated in 2003 by the FBI when an unidentified male robbing banks allegedly impersonated actual FBI Agents as a ruse to gain the confidence of bank managers at banks in Anaheim, California; Scottsdale, Arizona, and Santa Barbara, California.  The following is a description of the bank robberies.


On 5/1/03, an unidentified white male dressed in business attire entered and robbed the Wells Fargo Bank on 222 South Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim, California. The bandit had identified and gained the trust of the branch manager the previous day by identifying himself as an actual FBI Agent.  The bandit did this by presenting a fake badge and a business card, which had the name of an actual Los Angeles-based FBI Agent, to the manager.  The bandit continued the pretense by displaying wanted flyers he may have printed from the FBI’s website, alleging he was seeking the individuals whose photos appeared in the flyers who were suspected of robbing area banks.  The bandit then proceeded to handcuff the bank manager to what the bandit described as an explosive device. The device was attached to a handcuff which he fastened to the bank manager’s wrist.  The bandit also displayed a remote control which he indicated could be used to detonate the device up to twenty miles away.  The man was dubbed “The Impersonator Bandit” by the FBI and bank surveillance photos were posted on the FBI’s website.   


On May 30, 2003, a man with the same description and using the same modus operandi as the Impersonator Bandit entered the Wells Fargo Bank, 4167 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, California.  The bandit identified himself as an FBI Agent using the name of an actual agent stationed in St. Louis, Missouri.  In this robbery, the bandit also displayed what appeared to be a black revolver in a waistband holster.


           On 07/11/2023, a man with the same description as the Impersonator Bandit entered the First Bank & Trust, 3304 State Street, Santa Barbara, California, and identified himself as an FBI Agent.  The man displayed wanted flyers to a bank teller and asked to see the manager but appeared to become impatient while waiting.  The man told the teller he would return and exited the bank.


           Last year, the FBI developed information identifying Burgum as the possible man known to law enforcement as the “Impersonator Bandit.”  After a lengthy investigation, Burgum was recently charged in a sealed criminal complaint in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.  Based on the charges, a warrant was issued for Burgum’s arrest.  Burgum unexpectedly surrendered to federal authorities yesterday afternoon in Reno, Nevada, and is being held in federal custody.


           Burgum will be afforded an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada, today, where he will charged with one count of armed bank robbery.   It is anticipated that Burgum will be transferred to Los Angeles to face prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.  This is a continuing investigation.


           The FBI’s Los Angeles and Phoenix Field Offices received assistance from officers and detectives with the Anaheim Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, as well as Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service and Agents with the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office.



FBI:  Laura Eimiller

U.S. Attorney’s Office Media Relations:  Thom Mrozek:  213 894-6947

Assistant United States Attorney:  Anne Gannon:  714 338-3548