OAKLAND -- Minutes before they robbed a downtown bank Monday afternoon, two suspects were seen casing a nearby Chinatown bank but did not commit a heist there, police said Tuesday.

After leaving the East West Bank, 900 Webster St., about 12:36 p.m., the two men went to the Bank of the Orient, 360 12th St., at 12:42 p.m. Monday, according to police.

Officer Frank Bonifacio said while one of the men stood as a lookout, the second simulated a weapon underneath his sweatshirt, said he had a gun and demanded money before leaping over a counter and taking cash on the counter.

Both men fled on foot northbound on Webster Street. Authorities would only say they escaped with more than $1,000.

It was not known why they did not rob the East West Bank.

The man who took the money is described as white or Hispanic, 20 to 30 years old, about 6 feet with a slim build. He had a mustache and goatee. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with the word "Eastbay" on the front. He had a tan baseball cap and blue pants.

The lookout was a black man, 20 to 30, about 5 feet 9 with a medium build. He had a beard and mustache. He wore a black puffy vest, gray T-shirt and blue pants.

Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $2,000 in reward money for information leading to the robbers' arrests. Anyone with information may call police at 510-238-3326 or a tip line at 510-773-2805 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.


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