Ex-Los Angeles police detective arrested over 5 bank robberies

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 23, 2015 5:34 PM

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A retired Los Angeles Police Department detective has been arrested in a string of bank robberies attributed to the so-called "Snowbird Bandit" after several of his family members tipped off authorities, police said on Thursday.

Randolph Bruce Adair, 70, was taken into custody in a parking lot near his home in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, on Wednesday on suspicion of bank robbery and an outstanding warrant, an Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman said.

Adair was booked into the Orange County Jail in lieu of $205,000 bail pending an initial court appearance later on Thursday and was expected to face federal charges in the coming days.

The former LAPD detective had been linked to five bank robberies beginning in March, according to the sheriff's department, including two in Rancho Santa Margarita, about 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Los Angeles.

The other three robberies took place in the Orange County communities of Ladera Ranch, Mission Viejo and Dana Point.

The man responsible for the Snowbird Bandit robberies earned that nickname after victims and witnesses described him as being an older male, possibly a retiree, according to the FBI, which had sought the public's help identifying him.

In their latest release about the robberies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation described the Snowbird Bandit as having white hair and aged in his late fifties to sixties.

Photos from the robberies show what appears to be an older white man with a mustache who wears a baseball cap or straw hat and dark glasses.

The agency said the robber displayed a revolver as he demanded cash from tellers and in one case carried a white pouch with the word "Medic" printed on it.

An LAPD spokeswoman declined to comment on Adair's arrest but confirmed that he had been employed as a detective in the department's Rampart Division until his retirement in October of 1988.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Lisa Lambert)