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FBI Says Seasoned Bandit Arrested In Connection With 10 Bank Robberies

Ventura man arrested in connection to bank robberies, including four in Santa Barbara County

The man dubbed the Seasoned Bandit who is suspected of robbing 10 banks, including some in Santa Barbara County, has been captured, the FBI said Tuesday.

Representatives of the FBI’s Los Angeles office announced the arrest of the Seasoned Bandit on its Twitter page, adding that the man was charged in federal court in connection with 10 robberies.

The arrest followed a tip “generated by publicity,” the agency added.

The man has been identified as James Allen Hayes, 55, of Ventura, according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Ingerd Sotolo.

In addition to robbing 10 banks, Hayes is accused of attempting to rob an 11th, the FBI said.

FBI agents determined the suspect owned a gold PT Cruiser, a vehicle captured on surveillance video before and following some of the robberies. 

He applied in 2010 to become a security guard with firearm, with records showing he had 12 pistols registered in his name.

Four of the robberies linked to Hayes took place in Santa Barbara County.

In a Goleta credit union robbery in July, Hayes stood in line for approximately 9 minutes waiting for his turn before handing the teller a note, the FBI affidavit said.

"The teller informed me that the note stated: 'I have a gun.' The man told the teller that he needed $8,000 and that he had a family emergency. The teller gave the man $5,000. He took the money and his note and left the bank," the  FBI affidavit said.

In an April robbery, the suspect allegedly handed a note to a Montecito bank teller. 

The FBI announced the arrest of Ventura man James Allen Hayes Tuesday, who is believed to be the Seasoned Bandit connected to 10 California bank robberies including four in Santa Barbara County. Click to view larger
The FBI announced the arrest of Ventura man James Allen Hayes Tuesday, who is believed to be the Seasoned Bandit connected to 10 California bank robberies including four in Santa Barbara County. (FBI photo)

"The teller remembers that the noted stated: “Not going to hurt you. $6,000. Stay calm and act normal. No dye packs,” according to the affidavit. 

During the robberies, the Seasoned Bandit passed a note demanding between $5,000 and $10,000 and threatening a gun if the victim teller did not comply with his demands, the FBI said. 

Surveillance photos were circulated to the public and authorities described the suspect as a white male in his 50s or 60s wearing casual clothing, a hat and sunglasses. 

Law enforcement officials gave him the moniker the Seasoned Bandit due to his suspected age and grey-white hair.  

He has been linked to robberies at the following banks:

» Montecito Bank & Trust, 1000 block of Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria, on April 27.

» Union Bank in Casitas Plaza on the 5400 block of Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria on May 24.

» Wells Fargo Bank in Newhall on June 12.

» Chase Bank Newhall on June 27.

» Golden 1 Credit Union, 5761 Calle Real in Goleta, on July 7. 

» Logix Federal Credit Union in Valencia on July 25

» California Credit Union in Valencia on Aug. 10.

» Wescom Credit Union in Stevenson Ranch on Aug. 21.

»  Coast Hills Credit Union on South Bradley Road in Santa Maria on Sept. 6.

The suspect is also connected to an attempted robbery on Sept. 26 at a Wells Fargo Bank in Newhall, the FBI said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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