Bank heist suspect busted |

Bank heist suspect busted

A Grass Valley man has been arrested in connection with the Feb. 2 robbery of Bank of the West on Brunswick Road.

David Andrew Clarke, 44, was arrested in San Bernardino County after allegedly trying to enter a military base near Twentynine Palms, said Grass Valley Police Capt. Rex Marks.

Clarke allegedly robbed the Brunswick Road branch of Bank of the West just six weeks after the bank’s Taylorville Road branch was robbed.

A man held up the Brunswick bank just before noon Feb. 2 and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. The robber was carrying a manila envelope, in which he placed the cash before leaving on foot. He did not display a weapon or make any threats, and no one was injured, Marks said.

Initially, police speculated the same man was involved in both Bank of the West robberies, but eventually they determined two men were involved, Marks said.

“Through their investigative efforts, Grass Valley detectives positively identified the suspect (in the Feb. 2 robbery) as Clarke,” he said.

On Feb. 13, Clarke was stopped by personnel at the United States Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms after he tried to enter the base, Marks said.

“They found a weapon in his vehicle, ran his name and found two existing warrants,” Marks said, adding, “It’s not a good idea to try and get on a military installation with a weapon.”

Clarke was detained in San Bernardino County on two outstanding Nevada County bench warrants from February 2008, plus a new charge for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

“We got this call out of the blue, saying they had person that fit the description (of the Feb. 2 bank robber),” Marks said. “They sent a photo, and it all started coming together.”

Detectives from the Grass Valley Police Department, working with the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office and San Bernardino County detectives, continued the investigation in San Bernardino County.

Clarke now has been connected to other bank robberies in California dating back five years, Marks said. Law enforcement agencies in those jurisdictions, including La Mesa and Roseville, were notified. The Federal Bureau of Investigations office in Riverside is assisting with the efforts.

Clarke remains in the custody of San Bernardino County pending court proceedings on the felony firearm charge. A date has not been set for his return to Nevada County on the bench warrants or robbery charges.

Meanwhile, the suspect in a Grass Valley bank robbery on Dec. 22 has been linked to a second bank robbery in South Lake Tahoe on Feb. 18, Marks said.

In the Dec. 22 crime, a man robbed the Bank of the West on Taylorville Road just after noon. He was described as a white man of similar age, height and weight, with light brown hair and a reddish-brown goatee. He was dressed in baggy brown trousers, tan shirt, tan waist-length jacket, green scarf and light tan fedora-style hat.

The suspect allegedly pulled aside his jacket to display a black-handled handgun in the waistband of his pants.

In the Feb. 18 robbery, a white man robbed the Bank of the West branch at 2161 Lake Tahoe Boulevard at 4:24 p.m.

Personnel from the bank told police the suspect acted alone. He entered the bank and demanded cash from the teller and brandished a gun described as a stainless steel revolver.

After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, the suspect fled the scene.

Descriptions of the man were also varied because he was wearing a disguise and a hat. Police do not believe his facial hair was his actual hair.

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