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Thread: Ex Officer arrested for robbery
08-25-09, 08:29 PM #1
Ex Officer arrested for robbery
Former officer, accomplice arrested in armored car heists | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA
Former officer, accomplice arrested in armored car heists
MARK ARONOFF/PRESS DEMOCRAT FILE PHOTO Loomis officials stand at the site where this armored car was robbed Sept. 27, 2007, at the Exchange Bank on Stony Point and Occidental roads in Santa Rosa.
By RANDI ROSSMANN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:51 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:51 a.m.
A former Santa Rosa police officer suspected of four armored car heists dating to 2007 was arrested Monday night by his former co-workers.
Lockdown at Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park
Robert Stephen Starling, 35, was being held in Sonoma County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, said Sgt. Lisa Banayat Tuesday.
Starling was believed to be the mastermind and gunman in the four robberies, which were in Santa Rosa, Novato and Sebastopol.
The crime spree netted more than $400,000. The robber used a handgun in each crime, but no shots were fired.
Starling had an accomplice in at least two of the robberies, detectives suspect. Santa Rosan Andrew Cooper Esslinger, 26, was arrested in connection with two of the holdups and also was in jail Tuesday morning with bail set at $1 million.
The robbers used diversionary tactics, including anonymous cell phone calls to police, in an attempt to throw officers off from at least one robbery and attempted to do so in a second case, Banayat said.
One of the suspected anonymous calls was made to Rohnert Park police in March about someone with a gun at Rancho Cotate High School.
That led to a lengthy lockdown of the school, and a full guns-drawn response from police as worried parents gathered at the edges of school grounds.
No robbery occurred that day but evidence found during searches Monday indicated a robbery was planned for the day, said Sgt. Steve Fraga, who supervised the investigation.
The case was solved in large part due to traces of cell phone calls. The trail first led to Esslinger, then Starling, Fraga said.
A fraction of the money was recovered, but the bulk of it went to easy living and start-up costs for two marijuana gardens by Starling, said Fraga.
Starling worked as a Santa Rosa police officer from December 2000 to April of 2001.
He then was hired as a Sonoma State University police officer but returned to work for Santa Rosa in May 2003. He was a patrol officer for Santa Rosa until he left the department in July of 2006.
Santa Rosa officers Tuesday indicated they were dismayed that a law enforcement officer as well as a former colleague turned up as a suspect.
It's embarrassing. It's discouraging. However, it's also rewarding to be able to put a complex investigation like this together and bring someone like him to trial, who put a black mark on our profession, said Fraga.
In May 2009, an armored car was robbed outside a Bank of America branch in Sebastopol.
In April 2009, a Brink's armored car at a Bank of America in Novato was robbed but the robber then left without getting any money.
In April 2008, a Brink's truck at a Bank of America branch in the Montgomery Village Shopping Center was hit after the robber disguised himself as a gardener.
In September 2007 a Loomis armored truck courier was held up outside of an Exchange Bank in west Santa Rosa.
Arrest warrants for the two were issued Friday following a joint investigation led by Santa Rosa detectives and including Sebastopol and Novato police departments and the FBI.
Officers caught up with the two during the night Monday, according to jail booking records.
Esslinger was stopped while driving at Fourth Street and College Avenue at about 5 p.m. Monday.
Starling was stopped at Carrillo Street and Mendocino Avenue at about 9 p.m. Monday. He was held at gunpoint and taken into custody.'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly
promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
holds forth the proposition that it is entirely
possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'
A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity. Sigmund Freud
08-26-09, 12:22 AM #2
His sentence will not be easy time.
He is going to find out how life is in the Segregation Unit in whatever/wherever prison he goes to. His will find out his assumed name is blown when his food tray arrives seasoned with shit and ground glass.
He will learn how little value his life has become, lower than a punk or a snitch, maybe worth a pack of smokes or jug of pruno.
Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.-- Anonymous
Old People, like me, may not be around to witness the destruction of our Nation. The rest of you may not survive the collapse. We all have the sworn duty to prevent it.
The light of hope burns brighter than the fires of doom.
08-26-09, 11:21 AM #3
Another deepender going down in a blaze of ingnorant glory...I'm not ruining your life, you are, and I'm just going to write a short story about it.
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