Armed robber hits Pacific Bank

A thief armed with a military-style semiautomatic rifle robbed a Pacific Beach bank Wednesday of cash, only to abandoned most or all of the loot outside the branch moments later when an anti-theft dye pack hidden among the bills exploded, authorities reported.

The bandit, a tall, muscular man who appeared to be in his mid- to late 20s, entered the Chase Bank branch in the 4600 block of Mission Bay Drive shortly after 9 a.m. and ordered several employees to lie down on the floor, according to San Diego police and the FBI.

He then demanded that another worker hand over money from a cash drawer. The victim complied, and the robber fled out a north-facing door.

As the fleeing gunman was attempting to stuff the stolen cash in his pants pockets outside the bank, the concealed ink packet detonated, covering him and the money in red dye, SDPD Detective Gary Hassen said. The stained thief then ran off, leaving discolored cash strewn across the ground.

Witnesses said the bandit had black sideburns and was wearing light- colored pants, a white V-neck T-shirt, gloves, sunglasses, a zip-up hooded sweat shirt, a dark-colored baseball cap and a stud in his right earlobe.

Security cameras captured images of the robber.

The gun he was carrying had a pistol grip and an extended, curving ammunition magazine.