Local News in Brief : Man Held as Suspect in Bank Robberies by 'Bicycle Bandit'

A man suspected of robbing a series of banks in the last month, three in the Santa Clarita Valley, while using a bicycle as his getaway vehicle was arrested Monday when he returned to a Valencia bank that was the scene of one of the earlier robberies, Los Angeles County sheriffs' deputies said.

The man, Stanley E. Hanley, 31, of Palmdale, was arrested after a search of a Valencia neighborhood where he had fled on foot after he was recognized by a bank teller, Sgt. Jack Barnes said. Hanley is believed to be the "bicycle bandit" responsible for robberies in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys and others in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, Barnes said.

Although he was wearing a wig as a disguise, Hanley was recognized by a teller Monday afternoon as he entered the First Nationwide Bank on Lyons Avenue, which was robbed on May 26, Deputy Pete Fosselman said. Before he had a chance to demand any cash, the teller activated an alarm and called authorities, Fosselman said.

Hanley fled on a bicycle, then discarded it a few blocks later and got into a car, where he changed his clothes, Fosselman said.

A California Highway Patrol officer spotted Hanley as he was taking off his wig, Fosselman said, and began to chase him on foot. About 15 sheriffs' deputies--including two in a helicopter--joined the chase.

Deputies surrounded the area near Lyons Avenue and Orchard Village Road in Valencia and began searching door-to-door, Fosselman said.

They found Hanley hiding in an electrical closet at St. Stephens Church on Orchard Village Road north of Lyons Avenue, he said. He gave up without a struggle, although deputies said he was armed with a semi-automatic, 9-millimeter pistol, Fosselman said.

Hanley was being held without bail at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station on suspicion of robbery.

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