Jerrard Schmittle
Jerrard Schmittle is accused of trying to rob a bank while wearing the disguise FBI/Riverside Sheriff's Department

Police have arrested a man accused of trying to rob a bank in California while while wearing blackface. Jerrard Schmittle, 40, is suspected of attempting to steal money from a Wells Fargo branch in Lake Elsinore on 18 August.

Launching an investigation, police said they were looking for a "white male adult, with obvious dark make-up to disguise his appearance".

The suspect is accused of handing a note to a teller demanding money and stating he was armed with a gun.

However, "after waiting several seconds" the suspect in blackface fled without taking any money.

Detectives from Lake Elsinore station, along with the Riverside Sheriff's Department Forensics Unit, were then able to identify Schmittle as the suspect after psychical evidence was collected from the scene.

Police said the man's identity was still unknown up until 1 November, when new evidence emerged.

Schmittle was arrested at his home in Lake Elsinore on 8 November. He stands accused of attempted robbery and is currently being held in the French Valley jail.

A Riverside Sheriff's Department spokesperson said: "On Friday, 18 August, 2017, about 1:30PM, deputies from the Lake Elsinore Sheriff's station responded to a silent alarm at the Wells Fargo Bank located in the 11000 block of De Palma Road in Corona.

"Deputies arrived on scene and learned from bank employees, an attempt to rob the bank had occurred. The investigation revealed a white male adult, with obvious dark make up to disguise his appearance, handed a note to a teller demanding money and verbally stated he was armed with a gun.

"The suspect, after waiting several seconds, fled the bank on foot without obtaining any money. Detectives from the Lake Elsinore station, along with the Riverside Sheriff's Department Forensics Unit, processed the scene and collected evidence. The identity of the suspect remained unknown.

"On 1 November, 2017, leads developed from the physical evidence collected from the scene revealed a possible identification of the suspect.

"On 8 November, 2017, a search warrant was served for an address in the city of Lake Elsinore and a suspect was detained for questioning and later was arrested."