North Bay News

Bank robbery suspect shot by deputy may be "Cotton Ball Bandit"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Surveillance video image showing the Cotton Ball Bandit on Sept. 4, 2013. Bank robbery suspect shot in San Rafael

A Novato bank robbery suspect led police on a chase Wednesday that ended in San Rafael, where he was shot and wounded by a sheriff's deputy. Police believe the man could be the same notorious robbery who's been holding up local banks for months.

The shooting happened near the Northgate shopping mall in the Terra Linda neighborhood of San Rafael. For most of the day, Las Gallinas Avenue was closed to traffic as police continued their investigation.

Officials are trying to determine if this suspect is the same brazen robber known as the "Cotton Ball Bandit."

"I saw that they were going really fast, and I knew that they wouldn't make it around this corner here," witness Jaimie Gallagher said.

Gallagher was going to work when she witnessed a high-speed chase. Marin County Sheriff's deputies pursuing a bank robbery suspect driving a silver Saturn, who then crashed into a pole near the Northgate mall.

"The suspect got out and ran, he was armed with a handgun, and he confronted the officers," San Rafael police spokesperson Margo Rohrbacher said. "He was shot and taken to a local hospital."

"So I started walking toward Wells Fargo and that's when I heard the gunshots, there were four shots," Gallagher said.

The deputies were not hurt.

SKY7 HD was over the Bank of the West in Novato after it was robbed by the armed suspect around 9:30 a.m.

Police believe it could be the same man who's been robbing banks across Marin for the last year, known as the "Cotton Ball Bandit."

He's been seen in surveillance video, often wearing a unique cap, which sometimes has a white ball on it.

Bank teller Anai Eddington says the Wells Fargo branch where she works was robbed by the Cotton Ball Bandit in October. Wednesday's suspect had the same MO.

"We think it might have been the same guy because his MO is, you know, every couple weeks on Wednesday in the morning, same exact time that he pretty much robbed our branch the last time," Eddington said.

Police can't say for sure if it's the same man. The FBI is joining the investigation.

Officials say the suspect will recover. His wounds were not life-threatening.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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san rafael, crime, shooting, novato, banks, north bay news
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