Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies are looking for any information that could lead to the arrest of three men who robbed the Rabobank at 5340 Hollister Avenue just before 10:57 a.m. on Thursday, November 29. The robbers - described as three African-American men, one wearing a “light-colored” hooded sweatshirt - walked into the bank, forced six employees to the ground, and systemically emptied teller drawers and the vault of an undisclosed amount of cash. A press release from Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Erik Raney noted that the men “appeared organized and executed the robbery in a matter of minutes.” One man had a gun. No customers were in the bank at the time of the robbery. Raney also said that similarities between this robbery and others throughout Southern California have investigators looking into possible connections.
Because bank said that the suspects fled on foot, officers began searching for the men in the area around the bank. In doing so, they found a 1997 Range Rover parked on the side of St. Joseph’s Street. The vehicle’s engine was running. An investigation revealed that the vehicle had been reported stolen from Los Angeles on Nov. 20. Raney’s statement said investigators believe the Range Rover could have been the robbers’ get-away ride.
As part of the investigation, officers had St. Raphael Church and School locked down, which delayed parents picking up their children until about 3:30 p.m.
Raney said that the Sheriff’s Department would not be sending our bank surveillance photos of the suspects, but did not explain why.