Retired LAPD detective arrested, believed to be elusive ‘Snowbird Bandit’

Randolph Bruce Adair

Randolph Bruce Adair, 70, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of robbing five banks in south Orange County. He is a retired Los Angeles Police Department detective.


After months of eluding police in south Orange County, authorities have arrested a retired Los Angeles police detective, a man they say is the so-called Snowbird Bandit.

Randolph Bruce Adair, 70, was taken into custody about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in a parking lot in Rancho Santa Margarita after several family members tipped investigators off to his identity, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Adair was booked on suspicion of robbery and an outstanding warrant. He is being held on $205,000 bail.

Adair’s family members had seen recent news reports about the Snowbird Bandit and called investigators, saying they had information about the thief.


Adair was a longtime LAPD detective, according to Officer Liliana Preciado, a police spokeswoman. She said he was hired by the Los Angeles Police Department in December 1967, and retired on Oct. 5, 1988, after working as a detective with the Rampart Division.

The FBI believes Adair is responsible for robbing five banks, with the most recent one occurring Tuesday at the First Citizens Bank in Rancho Santa Margarita. Adair is a resident of Rancho Santa Margarita.

SIGN UP for the free Essential California newsletter >> 

He was nicknamed the Snowbird Bandit because of his age and white hair. During some of the robberies, he brandished a revolver and demanded cash.


Adair is also suspected in the following robberies:

  • July 6 at the U.S. Bank at 111 Corporate Drive in Ladera Ranch, near the 5 Freeway
  • June 11 at the Wells Fargo Bank branch at 24471 Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo, next to the 5 Freeway
  • May 22 at the First Citizens Bank at 29818 Santa Margarita Parkway in Rancho Santa Margarita, near Highway 241
  • And March 20 at the California Bank & Trust at 24034 Camino del Avion in Monarch Beach, a neighborhood in Dana Point.

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.


Drone strike kills terrorist tied to 2002 killing of Camp Pendleton Marine

Bill Cosby request in sex assault lawsuit denied by California Supreme Court

Special Olympics athletes arrive in host towns after long transportation delays

The stories shaping California

Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.