Though Davis is usually thought of as a relatively low crime city, we have had our share of bank robberies (and burglaries) over the years. We just tend to quickly forget about them. This page is an effort to chronicle the plundering of various banks in our fair city, as well as the eventual outcomes of each incident.
We're trying to stick to official records and sources, but if you've heard rumors or stories, feel free to add them to the Comments section. If you remember an incident, try Googling for newspaper articles at the time.
Bank robberies aren't actually that uncommon in Davis. One of the California Aggie articles about the recent robberies mentioned this: "...the police said bank robberies occur periodically in Davis. 'We normally get hit a couple of times a year,' Sgt. Paul Doroshov said. 'If we have a year without a bank robbery, we're lucky.'"
There are seven Banks within three blocks of Davis Lumber & Hardware and they had to stop selling guns because there were too many bank robberies where people had bought guns immediately before. Similarly, the hardware store offers free pens which are useful for endorsing a check at the ATM when the bank is closed, the hardware store is open, and you don't have a pen.
There are precautions that banks could take to prevent bank robberies, however many banks do not want to spend money on bullet-resistant glass or security entrances with metal detectors to protect customers or employees. Entrance Control Systems feature a double door entrance system with bullet-proof glass. These provide a buffer between the bank and the outside with a metal detector system. Only after visitors are scanned will the bullet proof doors unlock to let visitors in. link
Chase Bank (330 E St.): Humboldt area resident Paul Michael Schmeer, 29, robbed the bank at about 9:30 AM. He was observed by a bank employee getting into a Jeep Liberty which was quickly spotted by a Davis Police officer heading east out of town. He was pulled over and arrested in West Sacramento , and a "substantial amount of money” was recovered.
US Bank in downtown Davis was robbed for the second time in six months. The male subject has olive complected skin, black hair, a beard, and glasses. He was wearing a black jacket and light slacks. He is believed to be 25-30 years old. The suspect is still on the loose and is suspected in 7 other bank robberies in other cities.
US Bank in downtown Davis was robbed by a female suspect: white female in her mid-40s with red hair, about 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds. She was wearing a blue top with sequins. She is still on the loose.
Union Bank (From Sac Bee: http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2010/07/police-suspecte.html): A 48-year-old Durham woman was arrested Wednesday afternoon after she reportedly stole money from a bank in Davis, then locked her car keys in the getaway vehicle, according to the Davis police department.
The suspect, Laura Jane Murray, allegedly walked into Union Bank on E Street about noon and handed a note to a teller, demanding money. When the teller gave her an undisclosed amount of money, she fled to her parked car nearby.
Police officers found Murray as she was trying to break the window of her car with a piece of equipment she had stolen from a nearby delivery truck, said Lt. Thomas Waltz, the department's spokesman.
Waltz said that there were no injuries and weapons used during the robbery.
Murray was charged with suspicion of armed robbery and taken to the Yolo County Jail.
After the arrest, officers discovered that she had a $35,000 arrest warrant issued by the Butte County Sheriff's Office for another bank robbery in Oroville.
Bank of America (Inside of Save Mart): At about 1:30 p.m. a man wearing a "Sin City" shirt handed the clerk a note demanding money, but no weapon was seen. The suspect is described as a white man, 22 to 30 years old, 5-foot-7-inches to 5-foot-11-inches tall and weighing 160 to 200 pounds. He has short, dark hair, with a receding hairline and a goatee. He also used a fake British accent during the robbery, which links him to another bank robbery in Sacramento two weeks earlier. The robber fled with an undisclosed amount of cash in his dark-colored backpack and ran northbound through the parking lot and across Covell Boulevard. He was last seen on the 600 block of Alvarado Avenue. Patrick Edward Doherty, 31, was arrested in November 2009 after confessing to both robberies during an interview with FBI agents. He had previously been identified in a lineup by a bank teller, and several others had identified him from surveillance footage. Doherty allegedly used the fake British accent to cover up his Boston accent.
Wells Fargo (Inside the North Davis Safeway): "The incident occurred shortly before 5:30 p.m. inside Safeway at The Marketplace, 1431 W. Covell Blvd. The suspect sat down in front of a clerk and asked to make a transaction, then produced a demand note when asked for his debit card, Sgt. Scott Smith said. Employees told police the suspect had been seen in the store earlier in the evening and may have been 'casing' the bank branch, Smith said. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect is described as a white male, 22 to 28 years old, standing 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-10 and weighing 215 to 250 pounds. He had short dark hair and wore a black baseball cap and sunglasses at the time of the robbery." http://www.davisenterprise.com/story.php?id=133.0
US Bank (304 F St.): The suspect entered the bank shortly before 11:30am and handed a teller a note requesting money. He claimed to possess a weapon, but none was ever seen. He is described as "white, between 39 to 49 years old, about 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 9 inches, with a medium build and scruffy beard. He was wearing a red baseball cap with no writing or logos, black sunglasses and a gray sweatshirt."
US Bank (304 F St.): "The suspect entered the bank and handed a note to the teller demanding money. The note indicated the suspect was armed, although no gun was actually displayed during the robbery. The teller handed over the money and the suspect left without further incident. The suspect was last seen on foot heading north behind Steve's Pizza." Daily Democrat
Union Bank (300 E St.): David Bryant, 52, walked up to a teller and said: "Give me all your money. No funny money." He left the bank with $7,352. In December 2007, Bryant robbed a Wachovia Bank in San Francisco and was apprehended by the San Francisco police. He admitted to robbing banks in Berkeley, Sacramento and Davis, and was sentenced in January 2009 to 27 years in federal prison.
Wells Fargo (340 F St.): A chubby white male, thought to be in his 30's, used a note to conduct a simple and non-threatening robbery. The suspect left the bank on foot with $5,300.
On June 30, 2007, 41-year-old Brian Scott Traynor admitted to this robbery as well as six others in Northern California. He had been dubbed “the sports cap” robber by police because he wore baseball caps to disguise himself during the commission of his bank robberies. He was ordered to pay restitution and sentenced to seven years in prison.
USE Credit Union (200 B St.): Police were informed of a robbery in progress at 9:17 a.m. Seven bank employees and one customer were ordered into the bank's vault by the suspect and forced to lay down on the floor while he put money into a SpongeBob Square Pants bag. No one was physically injured and dye packs were not used in the robbery. The incident was brief and the suspect left the bank on foot.
USE Credit Union (200 B St.): One man entered the bank at approximately 10:30 a.m., presented a note to the teller, demanding cash in small denominations. No weapon was seen. After the request was filled, he fled the bank in an unknown direction.
First Northern Bank (434 2nd St.): Two men entered the bank wearing masks and denim clothing, with one carrying a shotgun. An employee was hurt after being thrown to the ground. After getting cash, the suspects fled the bank with two other men in a stolen car down 3rd Street. A dye pack then exploded in the money bag they were carrying, forcing them to abandon the car and most of the money and flee on foot to the west.
From Breaking News: "I was walking down 2nd Street right past the bank, when a bunch of guys with ski masks and shotguns ran out of the bank into their car. As they were taking off, their car was filling up with red smoke. They turned left on c street, when I heard this guy screaming for everyone to get away because they had guns. When I went and checked it out, they had abandoned their car and apparently ran off down the street. I'm not exactly sure where they could have gone. When the cop showed up and we told him somebody had robbed a bank, you could tell he had no idea what to do."
Yolo Federal Credit Union (626 G St.): One man entered the bank and demanded cash from a teller. He acted as though he had something behind his back, but whether or not he indeed had a firearm is unknown. The suspect was described by employees as a black male adult, 25 to 30 years old, standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 230 pounds.
US Bank (620 W. Covell Blvd.): A man entered the bank, approached a bank teller, displayed a handgun and demanded cash, the same individual repeated his crime six days later on 4-23. The culprit was caught in Woodland three years later. A U.S. Bank employee who was present during both robberies had home plumbing problems and called a local repair company for service. When the repairman arrived, the employee opened his front door to find himself standing face-to-face with the robber from three years earlier. He called the police, who in turn contacted the plumbing company for assistance in identifying the alleged robber-turned-plumbing repairman. The employee identified 42-year-old Kenneth Lewis Samuels in a photo lineup, and Davis police obtained a warrant for his arrest. Samuels was also responsible for a June 2001 robbery of the Yolo Federal Credit Union.
US Bank (620 W. Covell Blvd.): A man armed with a small handgun entered U.S. Bank, 620 W. Covell Blvd, at about 2:00pm and forced all but one of the bank employees into the building's back office. He ordered one woman to open the bank's vault. After she made several unsuccessful tries, the suspect gave up and looted teller drawers of an undisclosed amount of cash. While fleeing across the parking lot toward the Lucky supermarket, the man fired one shot at the bank manager, who was following him from a distance. No one was struck by the bullet.
Sacramento Savings (417 Mace Blvd.): The thieves broke through the ceiling into the vault of the El Macero branch of Sacramento Savings Bank, 417 Mace Blvd., sometime over the weekend and stole or ransacked the contents of 120 safe-deposit boxes. Approximately $50,000 in the bank's operating cash also was stolen. The loot was found 6/28/91 in the rear bedroom of a house in a working-class neighborhood about three blocks from the City of Pittsburg police headquarters during a cocaine ring bust.
Bank of America (325 E Street.) A robbery with a standoff, with police and news helicopters over downtown. A single robber was later convicted. He brought a gun into the bank, but focused on a few hostages; the building has two stories and the USPS letter carrier was able to lead a number of people out to safety using the second story. (Date confirmed in William D. Diemer's "Davis from the Inside Out, A Municipal Almanac" copyright 2000; this book used the Davis Enterprise and The Daily Democrat as sources for an "Events, Chronology.")
Tell us about the time you robbed a bank.
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2008-11-08 12:25:39 I never robbed a bank, but the Bank of America robbed me!!! —thelonepiper555