RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA (CBSLA.com) — A 70-year-old former LAPD detective has been arrested on suspicion of being the “Snowbird Bandit,” a bank robber who struck at least five times since March in south Orange County.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Randolph Bruce Adair, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was arrested in the parking lot of a BJ’s Restaurant near his home around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Deputies said family members of Adair contacted authorities, claiming they had information about the “Snowbird Bandit” after they had seen recent media reports about the suspect, described as a beloved grandfather.
Detectives said evidence collected during a preliminary investigation connected Adair to five recent bank robberies that date back to March 20.
The robberies took place at California Bank and Trust in Dana Point, First Citizens Bank in Rancho Santa Margarita, Wells Fargo Bank in Mission Viejo, U.S. Bank in Ladera Ranch and First Citizens Bank in Rancho Santa Margarita, officials said.
Adair is being held on $205,000 at the Orange County Jail for robbery and an outstanding warrant.
Authorities said they intend to pursue federal charges against him.
Adair is a retired Los Angeles Police Department detective, last assigned to the Rampart Division. He joined the department in 1967 and retired in 1988, department officials said.
“It’s unfortunate, but we’re talking about human beings here. Obviously bank robbers usually are supporting some kind of drug habit or gambling habit,” said Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Salon.com said Adair encountered Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, immediately following the murder.
They quoted Adair as saying, “The guy was real confused. It was like it didn’t exactly hit him what he had done.”
Anyone with additional information regarding this case is urged to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at (714) 647-7000.