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Police: Man Robs Two Banks, is Caught Red-Handed

 A man allegedly robbed two banks during the noonhour Thursday, and was foiled both times by exploding dye.


Donald Kevin Romanik, 50, is in custody on suspicion of robbing two banks during the Thursday noonhour—just four days after his release from prison, police said.

The short crime spree began at 12:04 p.m. at the Bank of America branch at 834 State Street, said Lt. Paul McCaffrey, spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Dept.

According to witnesses, Romanik waited in line and approached the female teller, whereupon he announced the robbery, claiming to be armed.

Romanik ran out of the building with the cash and— unbeknown to him—a red dye packet, which deployed as he fled toward Canon Perdido Street into a city parking lot. The exploding packet created a peculiar cloud of red particles.

“Witnesses provided Romanik’s description, including that he was now splattered with red dye,” McCaffrey said in a statement.

Sgt. John Corre, who was in the neighborhood, was told by a Borders Bookstore employee that the suspect had run through the parking lot towards Anacapa Street. Corre followed a trail of dye in the air that led to Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, at 20 E. Carrillo St.

As he approached, he heard a pop, and then saw Romanik, running in a cloud of red dye across Carrillo Street. Romanik had just attempted to rob that bank, as well, leading to yet another explosion of red dye. 

“Romanik was chased down in the parking lot of Rabobank, 33 E. Carrillo St. and arrested without incident,” McCaffrey said. He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of bank robbery and parole violation.

This incident is being handled jointly with the Ventura FBI office.

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