Gerardo Orozco Lopez, 28, was arrested Thursday in Half Moon Bay by the FBI working with Ripon Police detectives and charged with the Nov. 21 robbery of the Bank of the West on Main Street .
He is also accused in seven other bank robberies.
In the Ripon bank robbery officers were on the central downtown scene within a minute or two of the call going out to units on the street, police said.
“The department wishes to recognize the tireless efforts of the Ripon Police Investigations Unit in assisting the FBI during this investigation,” said Ripon First Sergeant Steven Merchant. “Ripon detectives were part of the apprehension and interrogations teams that took the suspect into custody.”
Sgt. Merchant personally credited his Detective Sergeant Terri Jensen and her team of investigators in their efforts to join in the apprehension and interrogation of Lopez in Half Moon Bay Thursday morning. Known as the “Bad Beard Bandit” because of his disguise of using an inexpensive black plastic beard, he allegedly robbed the Chase Bank on Spreckels Avenue in Manteca five days later.
On Dec. 3 and 4 The Chase banks in Tracy and Dublin were robbed allegedly by the same man. On Dec. 10 and 18, a Citibank in Sunnyvale and a Chase Bank in San Jose were reportedly robbed by the Bad Beard Bandit. Turlock and Capitola Citibank locations were hit Feb. 5 and Feb. 25, respectively.
Lopez was prominently featured on the FBI’s wanted bank robber website during the four month crime spree. According to an FBI news release, even though a weapon was not reportedly seen by his victims at the banks, the suspect threatened that he had a weapon increasing investigators’ concerns for the safety of bank personnel and their customers.
The FBI credited the extensive investigation and arrest as a product of the efforts collectively of the California Department of Corrections, the Capitola Police Department, Dublin Police Services, Manteca Police Department, Ripon Police Department, San Jose Police Department, Stockton Police Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, Sunnyvale Police Department, Tracy Police Department, Turlock Police Department, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.