'Chrome Revolver Bandit' suspected in dozens of Bay Area armed robberies

A distinctive chrome revolver possibly used in dozens of robberies throughout the Bay Area, including one where a San Mateo pet store clerk was shot, led police to the arrest of an Oakland man, police said.

The appropriately if somewhat uncreatively named “Chrome Revolver Bandit” was taken into custody in Alameda County on Nov. 7, according to San Mateo police Sgt. Dave Norris.

A multi-jurisdictional investigation is still ongoing. In the meantime, 34-year-old Ricky Sanders remains in the custody of Alameda County on a parole hold, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Police in five Bay Area counties have been working to link Sanders to more than 30 robberies in over a dozen cities this year, including San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo, Daly City, Colma, Redwood City, Pacifica, San Bruno, Fremont, San Leandro and Mountain View, Norris said. He said in a statement that all the robberies “involved a similar method of operation and suspect description” and had been becoming increasingly violent.

“Apparently he was somewhat prodigious in his work,” said Wagstaffe.

Sanders is suspected in “a half dozen or more” robberies in San Mateo County alone, according to Wagstaffe. Charges will be filed in that county first, he said.

On Oct. 8, a gunman entered the PetSmart store at 3520 S. El Camino Real in San Mateo, demanded cash and then fired several shots at a 34-year-old sales clerk, hitting him once, according to police. Paramedics arrived quickly and the man’s life was saved.

Norris said information sharing with other local law enforcement established that robbery as part of the “chrome” series. Sanders was later identified as the suspect, he said.

Then, on Oct. 30, the gunman struck at another PetSmart, this time in San Jose, Norris said. A fingerprint recovered from that crime scene matched that of Sanders, he said.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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