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Local News

Suspect Arrested in Outer State Street Bank Robbery

Authorities say the man will also face charges in a May 23 holdup at the same bank

Authorities have arrested a suspect in Thursday afternoon’s robbery of Bank of America at 3790 State St. in Santa Barbara.

FBI agent Pat Connelly said the suspect will also face charges in a May 23 holdup at the same bank, in addition to charges of grand theft auto.

He referred inquiries about the suspect’s identity to the Santa Barbara Police Department, which could not be reached for comment.

On Thursday, Santa Barbara police Lt. Paul McCaffery said that authorities had received a report of a fight between two or three people in front of 3780 State St. about 1:10 p.m. Moments later, an alarm company reported a robbery at the nearby Bank of America. One of the people involved in the fight appeared to be the bank heist suspect, according to McCaffery.

“As far as we know, he wasn’t armed,” Connelly said.

After fleeing the scene with an undisclosed amount of money, the suspect was reportedly last seen traveling on foot up a creek bed adjacent to Hope Avenue.

Santa Barbara police swarmed the area in pursuit with the help of a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, but the suspect managed to escape in a stolen Toyota Avalon.

“Quite frankly, we were minutes away from getting him before he stole the car,” Connelly said.

Police received reports of an individual matching the suspect’s description and the stolen Toyota, and a sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop the car on Highway 101. Connelly said the suspect started driving at a high rate of speed after reaching Highway 33. He then crashed but continued to flee on foot before being subdued by police about 7 p.m.

Authorities had said Thursday that if captured, the man most likely would be red-handed after a dye pack exploded in the bag of stolen money. It was unclear if that was the case after his capture.

The suspect was taken to Ventura County Medical Center for treatment before being turned over to Santa Barbara police. He is being detained in the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Besides charges in the bank robberies and of grand theft auto, Connelly said that “what charges are going to be pursued have yet to be determined.” The case will be forwarded to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

Th State Street Bank of America branch was also robbed in January. Robert Haig Royal, 33, was arrested as a suspect in that case.

Noozhawk intern Daniel Langhorne can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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