WOODLAND — A former Sacramento Knights general manager turned realtor is blaming the recession for turning him into a bank robbery suspect.
Hubert Peter Rotteveel, 47, of Dixon was arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of robbing the First Northern Bank on West Sacramento’s Harbor Boulevard, where a dye pack exploded on his body in front of responding officers, authorities said.
By Friday, Rotteveel had been charged with a second armed robbery — one that occurred at Woodland’s River City Bank about an hour before the West Sacramento heist. His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday in Yolo Superior Court.
It’s a situation that Rotteveel never envisioned for himself.
“I never thought that if you work hard and do the right things, it can all be pulled out from under you,” Rotteveel said in a tearful interview at the Yolo County Jail, where he was being held in lieu of $300,000 bail.
“When you’re caught in certain situations, you can lose your compass,” he said. “You’re walking in a gray area and you don’t know right from wrong.”
Woodland police Sgt. Anthony Cucchi said the robber’s use of a getaway bike, along with similar clothing descriptions, were among the factors that linked the two crimes. Authorities in Vacaville are investigating whether Rotteveel struck banks there as well.
Rotteveel comes from prominent almond-growing and soccer-playing family in Dixon. His father, Neal, is considered the town’s “founding father” of soccer, and a field there is named in his honor.
Hubert Rotteveel graduated from Dixon High School in the early 1980s as a standout soccer player, one who would help take the UCLA men’s soccer team to a national championship.
After that came prosperous careers — one as general manager of the Sacramento Knights indoor soccer team at Arco Arena, another as a real estate agent selling half-million-dollar houses in Solano County. Rotteveel, a married father of three, built a dream home on land owned by his parents.
Then the real estate market came crashing down. Rotteveel said he watched in dismay as the plunging economy took what he and others had worked so hard to gain.
He lost his dream house, as well as his parents’ land. His marriage crumbled.
Sporadic home sales and some rental properties kept Rotteveel afloat for a while, but a time came when he was desperate to pay the bills and provide for his children.
Rotteveel declined to talk about the allegations against him on the advice of his lawyer. But he did say he wants his arrest to spur a movement for change in the Federal Reserve System, which he believes is corrupt and “above the law.”
“I’m hoping that people will see the need to rally,” Rotteveel said. “I want something that will make things better for my kids, for everyone.”
Asked if he’s prepared to go to prison in order to get his message out, Rotteveel said he is relying on his faith and his belief that God “works mysteriously.”
“To those I’ve hurt, I hope they can forgive me,” Rotteveel said. “But I hope they can see I want more for everybody, and I don’t want that taken away.”