The “Fedora Bandit” who robbed a number of banks in the region in late 2009 and early 2010, including hitting the same Bank of the West twice in Grass Valley, has pleaded guilty to three counts of armed bank robbery.
David Griffith Osborne, 74, formerly of Carson City, Nev., was identified in January 2012 as the robber who hit seven separate banks between 2009 and 2010. At the time, he was serving a three-year federal sentence in Lompoc on drug trafficking charges, after a Kansas Highway Patrol officer stopped his motor home in December 2010 and found more than 40 pounds of cocaine and more than 160 pounds of marijuana.
“If it wasn’t for the interdiction officer in Kansas taking the initiative to stop and further inquire of that vehicle, had he not stepped up and responded to his intuition, chances are we would not have gotten him,” said Grass Valley Police Capt. Rex Marks. “It comes back to the law enforcement officer with boots on the street who did the job and allowed this (conviction) to occur.”
Osborne committed bank robberies between December 2009 and June 2010 that netted him nearly $56,000, according to his arrest warrant.
The bank robber, described as a nattily dressed man, robbed the Taylorville Road bank in Grass Valley Dec. 22, 2009, displaying a handgun and making off with more than $12,000. He hit the same Taylorville Road branch March 31, 2010, displaying a handgun and demanding money.
According to the arrest warrant, Osborne walked up to a teller, removed a gun from his bag and said, “Here we go again.” He told the teller to give him the money from both drawers and was given nearly $3,500 in cash.
Through the spring of 2010, the Fedora Bandit robbed branches of Bank of the West in South Lake Tahoe, Kings Beach, Carson City and Gridley. Osborne then robbed an American River Bank in Rancho Cordova and a Chase Bank in Paradise. In both of those robberies, he fled on a bicycle, according to the warrant.
In each of the robberies, Osborne used the same method of operation: Wearing a hat, sunglasses, fake mustache and goatee, and brandishing a gun while demanding money from tellers. In each robbery, he reportedly displayed a handgun and used a black, eco-friendly bag commonly found at many supermarkets to stash his loot.
DNA obtained from the bandit’s getaway bicycle in the Paradise robbery proved to be the break the FBI needed. Osborne abandoned the bike behind a nearby movie theater and drove away in a white Jeep Cherokee, according to the arrest warrant. DNA evidence was recovered from the bicycle, and it was matched to Osborne in the fall of 2011.
Osborne was interviewed in Lompoc, and he confessed to eight robberies; he was not formally charged with the Carson City robbery or an aborted robbery in Antioch.
Osborne pleaded guilty Friday to robbing the Gridley, Rancho Cordova and Paradise banks.
He also admitted to four other bank robberies — the two in Grass Valley, as well as the Bank of the West in South Lake Tahoe Feb. 18, 2010, and the Bank of the West in Kings Beach March 9, 2010.
Osborne will be required to pay restitution for all seven robberies.
He is scheduled to be sentenced March 29 and faces up to 25 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for each of the three armed bank robberies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4229.