Crime & Justice

Police identify Penny Pincher Bandit as man in North Hollywood shooting

A robbery suspect was shot and killed by Los Angeles police after leading officers on a short pursuit.
A robbery suspect was shot and killed by Los Angeles police after leading officers on a short pursuit.
KNBC-TV

Los Angeles Police have identified a man they shot and killed in North Hollywood on Thursday as the "Penny Pincher Bandit."

Undercover officers were on a stakeout investigating a series of robberies in the San Fernando Valley and Burbank when they encountered 37-year old Juan Andres Barillas.  

Driving a silver BMW, he led officers on a short car chase. That ended in a gun battle.

Beejal Lakhavani was nearby when it happened and described what he heard to our media partner, NBC4.

"It was like a rapid-fire five shots. In the blink of an eye, it just happened. And then you either thought it was a gun shot or you thought it was a car hitting some boxes," he said.

Barillas was hit by gunfire and taken to a local hospital, where he later died. No officers were injured.

Detectives haven't said much about the shooting including whether the suspect fired at officers — or if he was armed — but "There are several unusual things about this shooting," says KPCC's criminal justice and public safety reporter, Frank Stoltze. "First, that involved plain clothes detectives, who are typically not involved in shootings.  Second, it's unusual the LAPD has not provided more details at least explaining what officers have said about why they opened fire."

The LAPD has not revealed if Barillas had a weapon.

Another man, 37-year-old Michael Clouse of Georgia, was arrested hours after the shooting for armed robbery. Burbank Police believe Clouse knew Barillas.

Investigators believe Barillas is connected to several open robbery cases in Burbank and other nearby cities.

The robber was dubbed the "Penny Pincher Bandit" because he took pennies from a dish on the counter while robbing a Woodland Hills gas station.