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‘Cotton Ball Bandit’ May Be Bank Robbery Suspect Shot In San Rafael

by Carlos E. Castañeda
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San Rafael police at the scene of a shooting following the chase of a bank robbery suspect on December 11, 2013. (CBS)

San Rafael police at the scene of a shooting following the chase of a bank robbery suspect on December 11, 2013. (CBS)

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SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) – A suspected bank robber shot by Deputies in Marin County Wednesday after a chase from Novato could be the “Cotton Ball Bandit.”

The shooting happened on the 600 block of Las Gallinas after the suspect crashed and confronted officers with a handgun, said San Rafael police spokesperson Margo Rohrbacher.

The incident began at the Bank of the West at 1313 Grant Ave. in Novato, police said. “A little after 9 this morning, there was a bank robbery up in Novato and a description was put out of the suspect vehicle countywide,” said Rohrbacher. “A Marin County sheriff’s deputy got behind a possible match on a car and when he tried to get the vehicle to stop, the vehicle took off and there was a pursuit on city streets.”

After the suspect was shot he was taken to the hospital for treatment, Rohrbacher said. He is said to be suffering from non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigators are trying to determine if the suspect is a serial bank robber that the FBI knows as the Cotton Ball Bandit. The robber is linked to at least nine robberies in the past year. The robber wore a hat or a beanie with a cotton ball on top in many of those crimes. Most of the hold ups took place on Wednesday mornings, similar to the Novato crime.

“It is a Wednesday. There have been a couple of the days where I think he didn’t strike on a Wednesday, I think it was a Thursday, but again, that’s what we’re looking into,” said Margo Rohrbacher of the San Rafael Police Department.

Officers did confirm that eight agencies teamed up on Wednesday’s bust, which was intended to catch the bandit, but would not confirm the suspect in the shooting was that man.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )

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