Ex-Marine Who Held 23 Hostage Pleads Guilty to 3 Bank Robberies

An Oceanside man who held 23 people hostage in a San Clemente bank last month has pleaded guilty to three bank robberies and now faces up to 75 years in prison.

William Ritter Rapp, 41, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to robbing the San Clemente branch of Security Pacific Bank, as well as two other banks in Duarte and San Juan Capistrano. In the course of the San Clemente robbery, 11 bank employees and 12 customers took refuge in the vault until Rapp surrendered to police, who had surrounded the building.

Rapp, a retired Marine master sergeant, is accused of half a dozen bank robberies throughout Southern California. A grand jury in San Diego has indicted him on charges of robbing banks in Vista, Oceanside and Del Mar.

In the Los Angeles court appearance, prosecutors dropped a fourth charge: using a handgun in the course of a robbery. U.S. District Judge Richard Gadbois set sentencing for March 4. Each count carries a maximum 25-year sentence.

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