Man claiming to be `Geezer Bandit’ in custody, authorities doubtful

CARLSBAD (CNS) – A man who allegedly claimed to be the “Geezer Bandit” while robbing a North County bank was in custody today but authorities said he probably was not the notorious serial thief.

Edward Bernard Power, 58, was arrested Monday afternoon, after he allegedly tried to rob two businesses in Carlsbad before successfully robbing a third in Oceanside, according to Carlsbad police Lt. Kelly Cain.

“Preliminary investigation by Carlsbad police, Oceanside police and the FBI indicate that Power is probably not related to the Geezer Bandit series,” Cain said in a statement.

The “Geezer” serial thief, a craggy man who appeared to be in his 70s or 80s, has robbed about a dozen banks in San Diego and Riverside counties over a roughly year-long period beginning in the summer of 2009.

Investigators said it was possible the bandit was actually a younger person disguised by a realistic Hollywood-style mask and rubber hand coverings.

Shortly before 3:10 p.m. Monday, Power allegedly went into the Access Medical offices at 2626 El Camino Real and handed a receptionist a note demanding cash. He fled when the receptionist informed him that cash was not kept on hand, Cain said, adding that an employee followed him out and got the make and model of his vehicle and license plate number — a Chrysler PT Cruiser.

About five minutes later, Power went into a Bank of America branch office about one block north of Access Medical and handed a teller a demand note, telling the teller that he had a gun, Cain said. The teller began telling other employees of the robbery attempt, allegedly prompting Power to flee in the same vehicle spotted at Access Medical.

Fifteen minutes later, Power allegedly entered the Wells Fargo Bank branch office at 2701 Vista Way and told a teller that it was a robbery as he handed over a demand note and lifted his shirt to reveal the handle of a pistol. As he received an unknown amount of cash, he told the teller he was “that bandit,” Cain said, adding that a supervisor in the bank told investigators that the thief saying, “I'm the Geezer Bandit.”

Police were dispatched to Power's residence in the 3600 block of Village Circle in Carlsbad, apparently based on the vehicle information obtained in the first robbery attempt. According to Cain, officers watched Power arrive and enter the residence, and then took him and a female companion into custody.

The woman was questioned and released after it was determined she was not part of the robberies, Cain said. Power was taken to Tri-City Medical Center for previous, unrelated medical issues, according to the lieutenant.

He will be booked on suspicion of robbery charges and for threatening officers while in custody, Cain said.

Categories: KUSI