Federal authorities are now pinning six unsolved bank robberies in Twin Cities-area grocery stores this year squarely on a pistol-toting man wearing a fake nose and makeup.

The FBI said Tuesday it needs the public's help in solving the crimes, which have occurred largely on the west side of the metro area.

In each robbery, the suspect had a pistol in his right hand and wore a false nose, fake facial hair and appeared to have applied tan makeup. He often wore a hat, which was sometimes a gray, black or tan fedora, or a tan derby or a baseball cap. He has often been dressed in a business suit with French cuffs and cuff links. In the more recent holdups, however, he dressed less formally.

He is described as in his mid-40s to mid-50s, black, with a light complexion, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing about 200 pounds.

One vehicle associated with the robber is described as a red Ford Mustang convertible with a light-colored top, with five-spoke wheels and the word "Mustang" on the bumper.

Another car possibly used by the robber is a mid-1990s two-door Ford or Buick. It is light-colored and may have primer paint on the passenger-side door.

The first holdup occurred March 26 at the Wells Fargo in the Rainbow store on County Road 30 in Maple Grove. That was followed by: April 13, U.S. Bank, Byerly's, 3777 Park Center Blvd., St. Louis Park; April 27, Guaranty Bank, Rainbow, 10200 6th Av. N., Plymouth; July 20, TCF Bank, Cub Foods, 256 57th Av. NE., Fridley; Aug. 3, Guaranty Bank, Rainbow, 1540 New Brighton Blvd., Minneapolis; and a return visit Aug. 15 to the U.S. Bank at Byerly's in St. Louis Park.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 763-569-8000.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482