After a short foot chase Tuesday night, Santa Barbara police officers on routine patrol arrested a man believed to be the “Wigout Bandit,” suspected of robbing several banks in Ventura County.
The suspect, Daniel Lopez Jr., 40, has eluded authorities since his first alleged bank robbery occurred on Aug. 16 at the U.S. Bank on Victoria Ave. in Ventura.
A second robbery occurred the same day at the Chase Bank on Victoria Avenue, and a third occurred on Sept. 28 at the RaboBank on Mills Road.
Authorities called Lopez the “Wigout Bandit” because of the various wigs he wore as disguises during the robberies.
He may also be connected to robberies in Oxnard, according to Sgt. Rick Murray of the Ventura Police Department.
Lopez is facing three felony counts of bank robbery as well as additional charges, Murray told Noozhawk.
Lopez was spotted just before 9 p.m. Wednesday on the 800 block on San Pascual Street, where he was seen talking with a third person and a woman, who was later identified as Lopez’s girlfriend, Renee Lynn, 35.
Santa Barbara police Lt. Paul McCaffrey said Ventura authorities alerted local law enforcement two weeks ago that Lopez might be in the Santa Barbara area.
The officers hadn’t been called or directed to the Lower Westside when they spotted Lopez and his girlfriend, McCaffrey said.
“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said of the suspects.
Officers circled around to take another look as Lopez and Lynn were walking down the street, and McCaffrey said the two subjects fled down De la Guerra Street. Officers chased the pair down a residential driveway, catching up with them and arresting them without incident, McCaffrey said.
Lopez reportedly gave officers a false name, but when questioned by officers about his identity, admitted his true name.
McCaffrey said Lopez was arrested on suspicion of resisting a police officer, possession of narcotic paraphernalia, giving false information to a police officer, and for attempting to destroy evidence.
Lynn was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and delaying a police officer, and also had two warrants out of Ventura, McCaffrey said.