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Suspect Arrested in 'Hostage Bandit' Bank Robberies

August 11, 1993| Associated Press

ONTARIO — A man wanted for questioning in as many as 21 bank robberies involving a so-called hostage bandit, who told tellers he had taken hostages, was arrested, the FBI said Tuesday.

Robert Dean Skiles, 45, of Upland was arrested in Ontario on Monday. He was apprehended by FBI agents and Anaheim police detectives after the robbery of a First Interstate Bank branch in Mission Viejo.

Skiles also was being investigated in 20 other Orange County bank heists between February, 1991, and this month, according to Charlie J. Parsons, special agent in charge of the Los Angeles FBI.

Skiles is believed to be the "hostage bandit," who used robbery notes falsely claiming that he and accomplices had taken hostages, Parsons said.

He was being held in Santa Ana. If convicted of federal charges, he could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and a $5,000 fine per bank robbery conviction.

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