Michael Patrick Downing, 47, of Chino Hills was arrested moments after he allegedly robbed the First Bank in the 81900 block of Avenue 42 in Indio, according to Benjamin Guitron, spokesman for the Indio Police Department.
Authorities received a call from the bank at 11:37 a.m., Guitron said, and a man identified as Downing was in custody by noon.
Downing allegedly entered the bank, handed the teller a note demanding money and warning the teller he was armed with a handgun, Guitron said.
The teller complied and Downing left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash. Witnesses reported seeing Downing leave the bank in a white Toyota Corolla.
An officer working the Black Friday detail spotted a white Corolla and pulled it over near the Monroe Street Bridge and the 10 Freeway, officials said.
While taking Downing into custody, officers reportedly noticed a two-liter bottle filled with a clear liquid and some wires.
"As a precaution, we called out the Riverside County sheriff's Hazardous Device Team and they determined or felt like it was a fake, made up to appear like a bomb," Guitron said.
Officers contacted the FBI, which is protocol in any bank robbery, and learned Downing may be linked to a rash of bank robberies in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties spanning the last three months.
In surveillance images released by the FBI, the Desperate Bandit, as he was dubbed, was seen donning a variety of disguises, including long wigs, mustaches and eyeglasses.
Downing was booked into a Riverside County jail on suspicion of bank robbery.