An observant Orange County sheriff's deputy was responsible for the arrest of a suspect in a half-dozen bank robberies in California and Arizona, a sheriff's spokesman said Tuesday.
Lt. Dick Olson said Deputy Steve Winther noticed a silver Datsun 280ZX with Texas license plates parked outside a Dana Point motel about 8 p.m. Monday and remembered only that a bulletin had recently been posted by the department for a stolen car of that description.
Arrested at Motel
A dispatcher informed Winther that the vehicle was reported stolen out of El Paso, Tex., and federal authorities had named Richard Bruce Hill as the suspect in a fugitive arrest warrant. Olson said also that the vehicle's license plate number turned out to match one supplied by witnesses to a Jan. 11 robbery of First Interstate Bank in Laguna Niguel, in which a bandit netted $800.
Hill, of no fixed address and for whom no age was given, was arrested at the Dana Marina Inn on Coast Highway on the Texas warrant charging him with grand larceny. Along with the car plates, Olson said, Hill's appearance matched the description witnesses provided of the Laguna Niguel bank robber.
Bail Set at $50,000
After conferring with FBI robbery investigators, sheriff's investigators interviewed Hill and then booked him into Orange County Jail on the warrant and on suspicion of robbery. He was being held at Orange County Jail on $50,000 bail, Olson said.
Investigators believe Hill is responsible for at least six bank robberies: one each in San Francisco, Phoenix, Thousand Oaks and Laguna Niguel, and two in Santa Barbara, Olson said.