SANTA ANA ( — A man suspected of being the Cal Bear Bandit, who tells CBS2 he is innocent, was charged Tuesday with bank robbery and leading police on a chase in a stolen taxi that ended with a crash that injured three people.

Justin Daniel Hayes, 27,was charged with second-degree robbery and evading police, both felonies. He also faces misdemeanor charges of stealing a vehicle, hit-and-run with property damage and resisting arrest, according to court records.

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Hayes, who was being held on $100,000 bail in Orange County Jail, may face more charges in the future, according to Deputy District Attorney Nicole Nicholson.

Hayes took the cab to the U.S. Bank branch, 15555 Brookhurst St., in Westminster about 3 p.m. according to FBI Special Agent Chris Gicking. Hayes told the cabbie he wanted a ride to a Kentucky Fried Chicken next door and when they arrived, Hayes said, “I’ll be right back,” according to Gicking.

As the cab driver waited, Hayes allegedly made his way through the fast food restaurant on his way to the bank. Wearing a baseball cap with a Batman logo, the bandit handed a teller a note that read, “This is a robbery. I have a gun and I’m not playing,” and he escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash, Laura Eimiller of the FBI said.

Some bank employees saw the suspect get in the cab, wrote down its number and called police, who caught up with the van near Mile Square Park and pulled the driver over, Gicking said. After the unwitting taxi driver got out, Hayes crawled into the front seat and punched the gas, he said.

The suspect led police on a chase into Santa Ana where the taxi collided with a car at Fairview Street and Edinger Avenue. Hayes tried to run from the crash scene, but Westminster police quickly caught him, according to Sgt. Cameron Knauerhaze.

Three victims from the crash were taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

In an exclusive interview with CBS2’s Stacey Butler, Hayes said heroin addiction is ruining his life and he is living motel to motel – but he did not rob any banks.

“The drugs are my whole story pretty much, heroin. I need to be in rehab, not in jail,” Hayes said.

An FBI spokeswoman said Hayes had confessed to the robberies, but Hayes told CBS2 that that was a mistake.

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“I was given some pain medication and wasn’t thinking clearly,” he said.

Hayes is aware of the serious charges he is facing and spoke to CBS2 in the hopes of getting help from someone from his past.

“If anyone can help me out with $1,500,” he said.

CBS2 asked Hayes why anyone should help him.

“Um, it’ll come back to them,” Hayes said. “It’ll come back at least double. Triple.”

The Cal Bear Bandit’s nickname stems from the robber wearing a cap with a UC Berkeley logo on it during a bank robbery.

The suspect has been linked to seven robberies, starting with a holdup Aug. 20 at a Chase Bank branch at 31972 Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, authorities said.

The same bandit is also suspected of a holdup at a Farmers and Merchants branch at 1220 E. Katella Ave. in Orange on Sept. 3, a Bank of America branch in a Vons grocery store at 2701 Harbor Blvd. in Costa Mesa on Sept. 8, a U.S.
Bank branch in Huntington Beach on Oct. 11, a Cathay Bank branch in Orange on Oct. 17, A Chase Bank branch in Costa Mesa Oct. 29, and a Fountain Valley Bank of America branch on Nov. 28.

A day after the Fountain Valley stickup, Hayes was arrested by Irvine police on suspicion of drug possession and drug paraphernalia, according to Farrah Emami of the Irvine Police Department. He was stopped by police who were investigating a theft from a Wal-Mart, Emami said.

Hayes was booked into Orange County Jail, and his car was seized, but he was released on Dec. 2 when prosecutors declined to file charges at that time, according to Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock.

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