Former LAPD Detective Charged in Bank Robbery Held Without Bail - NBC Southern California

Former LAPD Detective Charged in Bank Robbery Held Without Bail

The "Snowbird Bandit" is suspected of robbing five banks in the SoCal area since March.



    Former LAPD Detective Charged in Bank Robbery Held Without Bail
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    The "Snowbird Bandit" suspected of robbing five Orange County banks was arrested Wednesday with assistance from the suspect's family members, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said on Thursday, July 23, 2015.

    A retired LAPD detective charged with a Rancho Santa Margarita bank robbery and suspected of committing four other heists was ordered held without bail Monday in his first federal court appearance since being turned in by family members.

    In taking away bail for Randolph Bruce Adair, 70, of Rancho Santa Margarita, U.S. District Judge Douglas McCormick noted a two-decades-old outstanding warrant for the defendant's arrest out of Riverside County.

    After Monday's hearing, investigators said the warrant involved a DUI arrest.

    The judge also noted the alleged "Snowbird Bandit" had a loaded gun in his car when arrested last week.

    Adair's bail was initially set at $205,000. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Keenan requested the no-bail status based on "danger and flight risk."

    Adair needed a hearing aid in court Monday and appeared to be in the same clothes -- shorts and a T-shirt -- he was wearing when he was arrested.

    His family members declined comment after the hearing.

    Adair is charged with robbing a First Citizens Bank branch at 29818 Santa Margarita Parkway just before 5 p.m. last Tuesday.

    According to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Christopher Gicking, the bandit handed a demand note to a teller stating, "I have a gun, give me all large bills. No trash," before getting away with $1,658.

    After authorities circulated video surveillance photos of the suspect, the defendant's family called investigators and said Adair "is retired, on a fixed income, and a heavy gambler," Gicking wrote.

    The retired detective, who worked for the Los Angeles Police Department from December 1967 to October 1988, was arrested Wednesday. A search of his car yielded a loaded .38 caliber handgun, authorities said. When Adair was shown surveillance video photos of the Snowbird Bandit, he said, "I'm cooked. I think I should have a lawyer," according to Gicking.

    When he was being arrested, authorities found $1,120 in Del Mar race track betting receipts on the defendant. His arresting officers also found a $300 cash deposit receipt in his wife's bank account and a receipt for a $100 cash deposit in his own account. All of the receipts were dated July 22.

    Investigators also recovered a tan fedora and light-green, button-up shirt in a storage locker of the defendant's that matches what the Snowbird Bandit is seen wearing in surveillance video, according to the FBI.

    Federal prosecutors may charge him with more heists later, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    In addition to the Tuesday holdup, the Snowbird Bandit -- the FBI coined the moniker based on the suspect's age and appearance -- is suspected of robberies at:

    -- a U.S. Bank branch in Ladera Ranch on July 6;

    -- a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Mission Viejo on June 11;

    -- First Citizens Bank branch in Rancho Santa Margarita on May 22; and

    -- a California Bank and Trust in Dana Point on March 20.

    Adair told the Orange County Register in 1998 that as a rookie cop, he was among the officers who responded to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles following the assassination of presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, and witnessed the arrest of gunman Sirhan Sirhan.

    He told the paper he helped control the crowd while officers cuffed Sirhan. Relatives said Adair escorted Kennedy's wife and astronaut John Glenn to the hospital where the senator was taken. Adair's family members told the Register that he rescued seven people from a burning low-income home around 1970.

    They also said he worked on the Freeway Strangler and Night Stalker serial murder cases, and has had a series of heart attacks in the last couple of years. Adair is due back in court Aug. 10 for a preliminary hearing unless prosecutors take the case to a grand jury and obtain an indictment, as expected, in which case the next court date would be Aug. 17 for arraignment.

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