Snowbird Bandit Caught: Retired LAPD Detective Turns To Crime After Severe Illness

Randolph Bruce Adair, also known as the Snowbird Bandit, has been brought to justice, turned in by his own family. The 70-year-old former LAPD detective had robbed five banks in Orange County, California, despite crippling illness. He now faces up to two decades in prison.

For the past couple of months, Orange County suffered from a wave of bank robberies, perpetrated by an elderly gray-haired man wearing a tanned fedora and green button-up shirt. Adair earned the nickname “Snowbird Bandit” for his distinct style and age, but the robber was also a former detective with a prestigious career.

According to the Los Angeles Times, he helped capture Robert F. Kennedy’s killer Sirhan Sirhan in June 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel. He met John Glenn and Kennedy’s wife in the incident, escorting them to a hospital after the chaos.

He worked many other high-profile cases before retiring in 1988. That’s when his troubles began.

The Snowbird Bandit has suffered from half a dozen heart attacks, according to the Orange County Register, as well as kidney failure. Doctor’s called him a dead man walking, but that didn’t stop him.

Adair’s daughter Kateri Fogleman explained, “It’s insane.”

“How does a dead man rob a bank? He’s ill. There’s no other explanation.”

The Bandit is described as a heavy gambler as well. During his arrest, police discovered $1,100 worth of Del Mar race track betting slips along with bank deposit notes totaling $400. Likewise, he had to file for bankruptcy in 2000, despite a yearly pension of $34,408.

The Snowbird Bandit’s wave of crime started March 20 with the California Bank in Dana Point. He hit again two months later on May 22. In total, the serial robber took down five banks.

His last hit was First Citizen’s Bank branch in Rancho Santa Margarita on July 21. He walked silently into the bank and handed the teller a note.

“I have a gun, give me all large bills. No trash.”

The Snowbird Bandit walked away with $1,600 in cash.

The FBI released stills from surveillance footage of the heist. When Adair’s family saw the pictures, they knew it was him and made the difficult decision to turn him in. They informed the authorities about a storage locker Adair shared with his daughter. Inside, the FBI found the green shirt and fedora that had come to characterize the man.

The Snowbird Bandit is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.

[Image via Orange County Sheriff’s Department]