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Suspected Serial Bank Robber Indicted For 5 Bay Area Heists

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- An Oakland man arrested at a hospital while his wife was giving birth last month was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco Tuesday on charges of committing five bank robberies in the Bay Area between October and February.

Duane Kurt Makela, 49, allegedly stole a total of $33,301 in the robberies in five different Bay Area cities. Makela was arrested on April 23 at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland as his wife was giving birth to their second child. The arrest came shortly after police and federal agents raided his home on the 2400 block of Stockbridge Dr.

At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office said Makela's arrest was part of a larger bank robbery investigation. On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Adam A. Reeves said Makela used force, violence, and intimidation, to rob a credit union and four banks. Those banks and credit union were:

  • October 19, 2018 – Meriwest Credit Union in Mountain View
  • October 22, 2018 – Chase Bank in South San Francisco
  • November 5, 2018 – U.S. Bank in Alameda
  • December 23, 2018 – U.S. Bank in Castro Valley
  • February 4, 2019 – Wells Fargo Bank in Palo Alto

RELATED: Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested At Hospital As Wife Gives Birth After FBI Raids Oakland Home

The indictment was issued under seal and was unsealed Wednesday after Makela was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Sallie Kim. Kim order him held in custody without bail.

Four of the heists were charged as armed bank robberies, which carry a maximum possible sentence of 25 years upon conviction. The fifth robbery was charged as a bank robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

In addition, the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office says Makela is suspected in two bank robberies in Orinda last year. Orinda police took part in the raid on Makela's home last month and after his arrest Makela was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on robbery and drug possession charges.

Makela's next court appearance is scheduled for May 23 before U.S. District Judge William Orrick, the trial judge assigned to the case.


© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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