Federal parolee arrested in Sept. 11 Bank of America robbery | September 28, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

News - September 28, 2012

Federal parolee arrested in Sept. 11 Bank of America robbery

Taken into custody while driving in car spotted at robbery site

by Glenn Wohltmann

An Oakland man on federal parole for bank robbery was arrested Sept. 19 as a suspect in the robbery of the Bank of America branch at Stoneridge Drive and Hopyard Road on Sept. 11.

Royland Rice, 59, was caught on Black Avenue near Via Espada after police spotted a vehicle matching the brown, '70s-era Ford Ranchero with a white camper shell used during the holdup.

The stop occurred at 8:40 a.m., and during the investigation, officers discovered evidence connecting Rice with the bank robbery.

He was arrested on one count of forcible robbery and booked at Santa Rita Jail.

Rice used a threatening note in the holdup, according to police. That's the same motive Rice used in the early 2000s, when he was dubbed "the potbelly bandit" who police at the time described as "having kind of a beer gut on him," according to a June 13, 2001, newspaper article.

Rice was arrested for robbing more than a dozen banks in San Ramon, San Francisco, Albany, Fremont, San Leandro, Berkeley, Union City and San Lorenzo in a four-month spree between April and June 2001.

In his June 2001 arrest, Rice -- who was already on parole for prior bank robberies -- was caught in a car with an expired registration at Eastshore State Park in Berkeley. A federal warrant for his arrest had already been issued after a botched June 4, 2001, robbery attempt in Orinda where he dropped a credit card with his name on it as he fled. In that robbery, a teller pretended she couldn't read the note he passed, which read, "Holdup -- 50s and 100s," according to court records from the 2001 case.

Rice was convicted in 1990 for robbing four banks in Berkeley, Richmond and Union City and was sentenced to serve the maximum of nine years, seven months in that case. No information on his 2001 conviction was available.


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