Costumed bank robber sentenced to probation, drug treatment

A transient man who donned a costume wig, hat and sunglasses to rob a Wells Fargo bank in San Mateo last year was sentenced Wednesday to three years’ probation and time in a drug treatment program.

According to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, the defendant, 53-year-old Gerard Joseph Myer, was placed on supervised probation and a modified jail sentence to be served in the Jericho Project drug treatment program, despite the prosecution’s argument for two years in state prison.

Judge Jonathan Karesh stated that although he was concerned about the seriousness of the crime, he was willing to take a chance on the defendant since Myer’s probation officer concluded that Myer is not criminally oriented, prosecutors said.

Myer pleaded no contest to felony robbery in a pretrial conference on Feb. 21, stemming from the heist at a Wells Fargo Bank in San Mateo on Oct. 1, 2013.

During the robbery, Myer, wearing a wig, hat and sunglasses, handed a teller a note telling her to fill his bag with money and “no dye packs,” prosecutors said.

The teller told police that Myer appeared to have a bomb detonator in his hand. Myer left the bank with $7,721 and was not immediately found.

Police created a flyer based on a photo of the suspect taken by an employee of a nearby business who noticed him adjusting his wig and hat shortly after the robbery and thought it was suspicious.

Myer was arrested at a Burlingame hotel on Oct. 7, when police responded to a medical call and recognized him from the flyer. After obtaining a search warrant for the hotel room, police found items worn by Myer during the robbery, as well as phony detonator and $868 in cash, prosecutors said.

In addition to probation and drug treatment, Myer is also required to make restitution to Wells Fargo Bank and to the teller.

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