Former Santa Rosa wine prodigy is arrested in bank robbery

Kyle Cameron, 20, was arrested on suspicion of robbing a bank.
(Santa Rosa Police Department)

A Santa Rosa man, who was once touted to be one of the youngest vineyard managers in California’s wine country, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of robbing a bank, police said.

Kyle Cameron, 20, was taken into custody during a traffic stop in the area of River Road and Highway 101 near the Russian River, according to Santa Rosa police Sgt. Josh Ludtke.

Cameron’s arrest, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, comes after he was recognized years earlier for helping run a grandfather’s vineyard.

In 2011, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat talked to then-14-year-old Cameron about his love of agriculture and his work on the land. The newspaper reported that he was the youngest vineyard manager in Sonoma County.


“It’s a love of the land,” he told the newspaper. “Something just sparked in me, and I realized this is where it’s at.”

Cameron had also been hired by George Martinelli, who ran Martinelli Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma County, according to company Vice President Regina Martinelli. He was asked to do some discing, or turning of soil, at a small vineyard that George Martinelli privately owned with Cameron’s grandfather.

Police said Cameron had been on their radar several weeks after the robbery at U.S. Bank.

The bank robbery occurred on Dec. 15 in Santa Rosa. During the heist, witnesses said they saw Cameron walking away from the bank, Ludtke said in a statement.

“He also threw out evidence and cash from the robbery shortly after leaving the bank, most likely in an attempt to discard potential bank security measures,” the sergeant said.

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Jan. 6, 8:40 a.m.: This article was updated with details from George Martinelli.

This article was originally published at 2:50 p.m. Jan. 5.