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Home  >  Topics  >  Investigations

October 31, 2004
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So. Cal. Police Crack "Dreadlocks Bandit" Case, Man Arrested in 26 Bank Heists

By Hector Becerra, The Los Angeles Times

Torrance police said Saturday they have cracked the case of the "Dreadlocks Bandit," arresting a man they suspect has robbed 26 banks since his release from federal prison earlier this year.

David Lee Robinson, 54, is believed to have taken more than $70,000 in holdups in the South Bay and other areas of Los Angeles County since Aug. 19, authorities said.

"He was robbing every other day," said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Robinson had served 14 years in prison for nearly 30 other robberies.

Also arrested Saturday was an alleged accomplice, Rasheeda Salaam Gaines, 29, of Los Angeles. Gaines was held on suspicion of robbery and possessing drug paraphernalia. Bail was set at $100,000. Robinson was held without bail.

Police had the area around a Western Financial Bank branch in Torrance under surveillance since it was robbed several days ago.

After an officer thought Robinson matched a description of the suspect, police stopped Robinson's car at the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and Halison Street, said Torrance Police Lt. Rod Irvine.

Police said they found evidence of previous bank holdups, including partial demand notes, inside his 1993 Toyota Tercel.

Authorities said witnesses often reported that the "Dreadlocks Bandit" was polite and even friendly during holdups.

But during the 1980s, Robinson had been known as the "Money or Die" robber because of the way he threatened bank tellers, Eimiller said.

Eimiller said the "Dreadlocks" robber would frequently change his appearance, from casual clothes to a construction hat to flashy suits and gold chains. She also said his hairstyle gave him his nickname.

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