SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An Oakland man linked to 19 Northern California bank robberies has been sentenced to over eight years in federal prison, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
50-year-old Duane Kurt Makela pleaded guilty to the charges in October last year. He admitted that he committed or attempted to commit the 19 robberies of banks and credit unions mostly focused in the Bay Area but also in towns near the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
In the armed robberies, Makela brandished what appeared to be a handgun before directing bank and credit union employees to hand him over money. In total, he took just over $69,000.
In April last year, Makela was arrested in an Oakland hospital while his wife was giving birth after the FBI raided the couple’s Oakland hills home following an investigation into Makela’s involvements in the robberies.
A grand jury indicted Makela in May and charged him with four counts of armed bank robbery one count of unarmed bank robbery. He waived his right to indictment and he was arraigned on information that linked him to all 19 robberies. He pleaded guilty to all counts.
After his prison term, Makela was ordered to serve a three year period of supervised release and he must pay full restitution to the victim banks and credit union.
The prosecution is the result of investigations by the FBI with assistance from the 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.