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3 Sought in Goleta Bank Robbery

Trio held up Rabobank branch at Hollister and Patterson avenues just before 11 a.m. Thursday. Manhunt leads to lockdown of St. Raphael School as safety precaution.

Sheriff’s deputies are hunting for three suspects who held up a Goleta bank Thursday, taking an undisclosed amount of cash before escaping.

The holdup occurred at Rabobank on the northwest corner of Hollister and Patterson avenues. Authorities say three suspects, all black men, one brandishing a handgun, walked into the branch at 10:57 a.m.

"It looked like a well thought out plan,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Erik Raney, a department spokesman. The suspects ordered the six tellers to the ground, one of whom was able to trip the alarm. An undisclosed amount of money was taken from the cash drawers as well as the vault. Within minutes, the robbers were out the door. Raney said the men left no evidence as to how they got away and what direction they went.

No one was injured, and there were no customers in the bank at the time. 

The takeover style is similar to others that have occurred in neighboring jurisdictions in Southern California, Raney said, adding that the tellers at Rabobank acted appropriately by getting down and giving the thieves the cash they wanted. It is not yet known whether any dye packets or other theft-deterring devices were handed over with the cash. It is also not known what, if any, links this bank robbery might have with other recent holdups.

Police continued to search the area until approximately 4 p.m., augmenting their efforts with K-9 units. The nearby St. Raphael Church and School conducted a lockdown for the protection of the students. Deputies carefully coordinated the children’s pickup at 2:50 p.m., asking parents to wait across the street until it was thought safe to release them at about 3:30 p.m.

Deputies also found an abandoned 1997 Range Rover left running a little over a block away from the bank. Upon investigation, they learned it had been reported stolen out of Los Angeles on Nov. 20 and concluded it had possibly been left as a getaway vehicle.

The FBI and sheriff’s detectives will continue their robbery investigation. Anyone with information about the suspects is urged to call 805.681.4150. 

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