A suspect who had been released from prison just four days ago was arrested on suspicion of robbing two banks in downtown Santa Barbara on 11/14, crimes the police spokesperson Lt. Paul McCaffrey characterized as “brazen daytime robberies.”
Around noon, Donald Kevin Romanik, 50, a longtime area resident, got in line at the Bank of America branch at 834 State Street. When it was his turn at a teller’s window, he allegedly told her he had a gun and ran out the back door when she handed him an undisclosed amount of cash. A dye pack booby trap included with the cash exploded as he ran. McCaffrey said that when Sergeant John Corre arrived on the scene moments later he could still see a “wispy trail of dye pack residue suspended in the air.” Corre followed it and directions from witnesses to the rear of Santa Barbara Bank and Trust at 20 East Carrillo-then heard the loud pop of a dye pack exploding and saw Romanik running across Carrillo Street “in a cloud of red dye,” according to McCaffrey. The two robberies occurred six minutes apart. Romanik was chased and arrested without incident in the parking lot of Rabobank, at 33 E. Carrillo Street.