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Police Arrest Suspect in 11 Southland Bank Robberies

January 25, 2002|TIMOTHY HUGHES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A man suspected of 11 bank robberies from Santa Barbara to San Clemente has been arrested in Los Angeles.

Agents responding to a witness' tip from a bank robbery in San Clemente this month arrested Richard John Geise, 52, of Ventura on Wednesday evening at a hotel near downtown.

In an unrelated case, Geise's son Richard, 32, of Ojai will be tried April 2 on charges of murdering a grocery clerk last year at Central Market in Ventura, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephanie Arthur.

The son's alleged accomplice in the April 6, 2001, shooting, Alfonso Acosta Delgado, was shot and killed by a Ventura special tactics officer during an early-morning standoff a month later.

The elder Geise was booked on charges relating to the San Clemente bank robbery and is expected to be charged with 10 others in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, FBI Special Agent Brent Robbins said. One occurred Tuesday at a Bank of America in downtown Ventura.

Robbins said the FBI has been looking for the robber since last summer. The investigation intensified last fall when six banks in Oxnard and Ventura were robbed within 11 weeks.

The robberies usually occurred between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The robber, whom investigators called the "Both Hands Bandit," typically handed tellers a note with both hands.

Once, he good-naturedly told a teller at Goleta National Bank in Ventura, which had been robbed three days before, that he was back.

On Tuesday, the Bank of America robber brought a partner with him who is still at large, Robbins said.

Arthur said the son, Richard Jr., was a suspect in a robbery last March at the same Bank of America in Ventura that was hit Tuesday, but there was insufficient evidence to charge him. Delgado also was a suspect in that robbery at the time of his death, Robbins said.

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