While the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has reported a continued decline in Northern California bank robberies, a number of recent incidents shows that banks are still a tempting target for people looking to get rich quick. Over the last few months, dozens of bank robberies have taken place in and around the East Bay.
In a recent bank robbery in Oakland, the suspected robbers didn't get to enjoy the spoils of their crime for more than a few minutes. A man entered a bank on Lakeshore Avenue, showed a simulated gun gesture, and asked the teller for cash. Some undisclosed sum was given to the man, who got into the getaway car driven by someone else. Unfortunately for the two robbers, a witness called the police with information about the getaway vehicle. The two men were detained within about 20 minutes.
A few months ago, an attempted bank robbery did not even get to the point of handling the cash before police arrived. At a bank in Fruitvale, a suspected bank robber handed the teller a note demanding cash. The teller got up, apparently to get the money, but instead told co-workers to call the police. While the suspect calmly waited for the money, the police arrived, and arrested the 44-year-old woman on suspicion of bank robbery.
Three suspects in a Dublin bank robbery got away with the money for about a day before they were eventually arrested. Surveillance footage shows two female suspects speaking to the teller, reportedly asking for cash, and saying they had someone at the teller's residence at that time. They fled on foot to a getaway vehicle driving by a male suspect. Police in Modesto eventually tracked the trio down, arresting all three suspects on suspicion of bank robbery.
With a much nicer moniker, the “Clean Cut Bandit,” was eventually arrested after robbing a number of Bay Area banks. Darius Gilbert, 48, is accused of robbing six San Francisco banks, as well as banks in Antioch, Elk Grove and San Rafael. After first robbing banks with a knife, he later upgraded to brandishing a handgun. He was eventually caught in Los Angeles, and is facing several charges.
However, not all bank robbers are immediately apprehended. The FBI is currently asking for help identifying another area bank robber, suspected in as many as eight bank robberies. Nicknamed the “Hefty Heister,” the FBI released surveillance photos from a Rohnert Park bank robbery, although the 35-45 year old man was also tied to bank robberies in Brentwood, Pleasant Hill and other Bay Area locations. The robber generally hands the teller a demand note threatening a weapon, but in one robbery, he reportedly flashed a pistol.
During a bank robbery in El Cerrito, a suspect reportedly got away with several hundred thousand of dollars in cash. In a bank branch inside a grocery store, the man handed the teller a note demanding money. The teller then filled bags with cash, and the suspect got away. Now El Cerrito police are looking to the public for help.
According to FBI statistics, the number of bank robberies continues to decline. There were 102 bank robberies in Northern California in 2015, down from 152 in 2014 and 229 in 2013. Nationwide, a similar trend is attributed to the higher risk and lower reward as compared to the past. With more security, more surveillance, and access to less cash, thieves seeking a big payout have been switching over to cybercrime.
If you are facing theft or robbery charges, you may need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to keep you from spending years behind bars. With over 30 years of experience defending people facing a criminal offenses in the East Bay, Lynn Gorelick understands the local laws and penalties involved. Contact a local East Bay defense attorney who understands the charges you are facing, and is familiar with the local laws, prosecutors and the courts.