71-year-old who has served half his life for bank robberies accused in another holdup

LOS ANGELES — A 71-year-old man who spent more than half his life in prison for robbing banks before his release three years ago is at it again, police said Wednesday.

Bruce Edward Bell was arrested after the holdup at a bank in Sun Valley, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, on Dec. 21, in which a man pointed what looked like a gun at a worker and stole $60,000 in cash, police said.

bank robber elderly man
A man police alleged is Bruce Edward Bell holds a gun as he robs a bank in Sun Valley, Calif., on Dec. 21.Los Angeles Police Department via YouTube

He was arrested during a traffic stop after the robbery in Sun Valley, and officers found a black replica firearm and around $64,000, police said.

He was being held in lieu of $1.6 million bail Wednesday evening, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department online records.

Criminal charges include second-degree robbery and kidnapping, according to court records. The records available online did not list an attorney for him.

Los Angeles police called Bell a “serial bank robber” and released the photos and information Wednesday in case anyone else believes he victimized them.

He has four prior convictions for bank robbery and has served more than 40 years in prison, police said in a statement.

Bell was released from federal prison in October 2021, Federal Bureau of Prisons records show.