RIVERSIDE (AP) — Federal prosecutors on Friday charged a retired Los Angeles police detective with bank robbery after members of his family called authorities with information about a series of holdups linked to a thief dubbed the Snowbird Bandit.
Randolph Bruce Adair, 70, was charged with one count of bank robbery and accused of using force and intimidation on July 21 to take $1,658 from First Citizens Bank in Rancho Santa Margarita.
Adair is a heavy gambler living on a fixed income who had $1,120 in Del Mar racetrack betting receipts dated July 22 — the day after the robbery — on him when he was arrested, court documents state.
Adair had money troubles, the records show, and had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2000. His family said he also had severe health problems.
Authorities arrested Adair on Wednesday in Rancho Santa Margarita on suspicion of robbery and an outstanding DUI warrant in Riverside County.
Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department suspect he is the so-called Snowbird Bandit and say they have information linking him to five bank robberies this year in Orange County.
A message seeking comment was left at a telephone listing for Adair.
The sheriff’s department said Adair’s family members contacted deputies indicating they had information about the robberies linked to the Snowbird Bandit, whose moniker comes from his white hair.
Kateri Fogleman told The Orange County Register that she and her husband recognized bank surveillance photographs of her dad and decided to do the right thing.
“I went into freaking out and shock,” Fogleman said. “I fell to my knees. I was absolutely stunned. Paralyzed.”
Together with Adair’s wife, they went to authorities.
Adair earned $34,305 in pension last year with $12,640 in other benefits.
Adair retired in 1988 after more than 20 years with the LAPD. The newspaper said he had helped arrest the killer of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, rescued more than half-a-dozen people from a burning building, and served as a football coach.
In 2013, he suffered six heart attacks and kidney failure and doctors said he suffered brain damage, the Register said.
His daughter said the health problems aren’t an excuse but could explain his changing behavior and bad decisions.
“I told them we were concerned for everybody’s safety, no matter what, and he was not in his right mind,” she said, crying. “He’s not a man that’s robbing a bank for thousands of dollars. He’s just sick.”
Adair is expected to appear in federal court on Monday. Meanwhile, the investigation continues.
Bank robbery carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.