SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An Oakland man has pleaded guilty to being a serial bank robber, committing heists across the Bay Area and Northern California before his arrest earlier this year at a hospital while his wife was giving birth.
Federal prosecutors announced that Duane Kurt Makela, 50, pleaded guilty Thursday to ten armed bank robberies, seven unarmed bank robberies, and two attempted bank robberies between March 2018 and Februaty 2019.READ MORE: Early Season Red Flag Warning Sends Residents Scrambling To Protect Homes
The heists were spread out across a number of Bay Area cities including Oakland, Palo Alto, Orinda and South San Francisco as well as in Roseville, Pollack Pines and South Lake Tahoe.
Makela was arrested in April at Kaiser Permanente hospital in Oaklnd while his wife was giving birth, the same day FBI, Oakland police and Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies served a warrant at his home in the Oakland Hills.
At the time of his arrest, investigators were looking into other bank robberies in which Makela may have been involved. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in May on four counts of bank robbery, and in September was arraigned on a superseding indictment on the the additional charges.READ MORE: One Dead, Two Wounded In San Jose Shooting
On Thursday, Makela pleaded guilty to all 19 counts. Prosecutors said Makela stole a total of $69,002 in the robberies.
Sentencing was scheduled for January 15, 2020. Makela facea a maximum of 25 years in prison for each armed robbery count and 20 years in prison for each unarmed robbery.
Makela had been previously convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for those crimes.MORE NEWS: COVID: San Francisco Businesses Thriving Again Under New Yellow Tier Freedoms
Prosecutors said convictions were the result of FBI investigations with help from police departments of Pleasant Hill, Orinda, Daly City, South Lake Tahoe, Oakland, San Ramon, Palo Alto, Roseville, Burlingame, Mountain View, South San Francisco, and Alameda, as well as the Contra Costa County, El Dorado County, Marin County, and Alameda County Sheriff’s Offices.