Authorities see spike in Santa Barbara bank robberies

SANTA BARBARA — County banks have become the target of serial brazen armed robberies, the latest of which occurred May 24 at a mid-city Rabobank branch just as the doors were opened for the day’s business.

As detailed by Santa Barbara police spokesman Lt. Paul McCaffrey, “the suspect entered the bank armed with a semi-automatic handgun,” with which he was seen threatening employees during the course of the robbery.

Ordering bank employees to the floor while brandishing the handgun, the suspect quickly fled the premises with an unspecified amount of cash via the bank’s rear exit. Witnesses describe the perpetrator as a blond-haired white male in his mid-20s of average height and weight, wearing a black beanie-style cap and black gloves. He was further described as carrying a large duffel-style bag on one shoulder.

Three days earlier, another neighborhood bank just a few miles north of the downtown area in Goleta was robbed by a suspect claiming to have a gun.

“No gun was seen, but the demand for money was clearly by force,” said sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars, who reported witness descriptions of the suspect as a white male of approximately 30 to 40 years of age and approximately 6-3 in height.

Multiple security camera images of the suspect indicate that he had a goatee and weighs in at 220 pounds, and fled the bank on foot.

While both events are similar in nature, both Sugars and McCaffrey indicate that the cases appear unrelated based upon witness descriptions and other evidence currently under investigation.

Both cases are being pursued in conjunction with efforts by local FBI agents, and anyone with information relating to these events is urged to contact Special Agent Patrick Conley at (310) 629-9553.

Authorities are looking for the man responsible for a May 21 bank robbery in Goleta.


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