A career criminal and bank robber who traumatized Ripon tellers in October of 2009 was sentenced Friday in Merced Superior Court to a term of 25 years to life in prison on a Three Strike conviction following a Livingston robbery.
Daniel Eugene Frazier, now 61, had received a rather light sentence in San Joaquin County for the Ripon robberies at Bank of Stockton twice and Westside Bank across the street from each other with all four robberies occurring within the same two months. He was released from federal prison in 2013.
It took three years for Merced County District Attorney Gerard Egan to see his Livingston bank robbery prosecution run through his court system for a similar robbery at West America Bank only a block away from the Livingston Police Department. Egan said his suspect chose to represent himself in court and presented many delay motions and cited three judges as being biased against him — replacing judge after judge.
Egan said the suspect would average more than $7,500 from each of the banks.
Egan said the suspect’s method of operation was identical in each incident where he would enter a bank yelling for tellers to give him their 50 and 100 dollar bills. He would remain in the banks for one to two minutes always having parked his car out of sight but within walking distance of the banks. He never used a firearm in the heists, police said.
It was the Ripon Bank of Stockton branch bank that identified the suspect through his DNA on December 4, 2009 when a Ripon resident saw the suspect drop his cap as he was leaving the branch. She reportedly called to him to let him know his cap was on the ground but he continued to walk. She subsequently turned the cap over to police. In all the robberies, Eagan, explained the white cap and mask were dropped once the man fled from each of the four banks.
Ripon Police investigators found the man’s DNA on the band of the cap which identified the person for prosecution, first in Ripon and then in Livingston. The Bank of Stockton suspect fled southbound on Highway 99 after Sgt. Tim Bailey had responded to the bank’s alarm and spotted the suspect parked near an intersection near Walnut and Second Street matching the bank’s description. Already having two unsolved bank robberies in the community officers along with the Chief swarmed into the downtown. Bailey gave chase with lights and siren as the robbery suspect fled onto the Hammett Road off ramp and catapulted off the side of the ramp and onto the adjacent freeway sliding down the middle lane upside down soon facing the officer’s duty weapon as he crawled out the window of his flattened vehicle.
Officers later took a swab sample from Frazer’s cheek and it matched the DNA from the cap they located at the scene of the robbery — identifying the suspect.
The Merced district attorney further noted that Frazer began his bank robbery career in his 20s and later used the cash to support his serious drug addiction. He has committed bank robberies since 1961.
Medics worked with the robbery suspect for some 20 minutes before loading him into the Ripon Ambulance and transporting him to the Doctors Medical Center Trauma Center in Modesto. Officer Trevor McGinnis went in the ambulance to guard the suspect during his stay.
Frazer was released later in the day and was taken back to the Ripon Police Department where he was interviewed by Ripon officers and an agent from the FBI. Ripon Police worked closely with the California Department of Justice Crime Lab in Ripon to analyze and review DNA evidence from the prior bank robberies.
Ripon Police Lt. Steve Merchant added that several of his officers had been called to testify in the Livingston case in Merced County.
The Merced district attorney said that Frazer had committed a series of bank robbers in Sacramento — a conviction that was overturned when the suspect claimed that his attorney was prejudiced against him. The DA noted that during the trial Frazer admitted robbing three of the banks but denied hitting the Livingston bank but DNA evidence countered his testimony.
“We were able to show that the crimes had the same method of operation (MO) and that he liked smaller banks with no security guard on duty and located near Highway 99,” Egan said. “Livingston had not experienced a bank robbery for over 25 years,” he said.