Band Aid Bandit Arrest

October 30, 2008 7:10:32 PM PDT
North valley authorities have arrested a suspected armed robber known as "The Band-Aid Bandit."Police say he's responsible for more than two dozen robberies in nine different cities ... from valley towns like Turlock and Lathrop ... all the way north to Sunnyvale, Livermore and San Jose in the Bay Area.

The sheriff's departments swat team spent hours surrounding a home in Merced County this morning, but it turned out the suspect, Andrew Gonzalez, wasn't there. Officers say the 23 year old was hiding at a house nearby and made a run for it when he thought no one was watching.

Turlock police arrested Andrew Gonzales after they say he jumped out of a neighbor's window and tried to run from officers. The mad dash happened just hours after an intense waiting game outside of this Merced County home. Sheriff's department swat team members armed with guns, tear gas, and a robot surrounded the home on Edwards Avenue where officers thought Gonzales may be hiding. During the search, the owner of a home daycare next door called her daughter to come pick up the children she was watching.

Carmen Garza said, "I had the three little ones and my daughter she came and said no mom, get out of there."

Carmen Garza says the woman who owns this home is the leader of their neighborhood watch. But authorities say she's also the mother of a young man known as the Band-Aid Bandit. Investigators say Gonzales was given the nickname because he robbed at least 25 stores from Turlock to the Bay Area, all while wearing a bandage under his left eye. This surveillance video captures one of the robberies he's accused of at a Manteca UPS Store.

Rex Osborn of the Manteca Police Dept. said, "Based on intelligence information, we thought he would be at the home, using all the precautions we needed to because he was armed, they used the precautions to search the house and he was not there."

Officers searched the home for evidence after declaring the neighborhood safe and continued looking for Gonzales in the surrounding area. Then just before 2:00 p.m. Turlock police caught the so called Band Aid Bandit less than half a mile away.

Authorities say Gonzales' crime spree started in June and continued through this past Saturday. He'll now be booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on multiple felony counts of armed robbery.

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