Cops 0, robber 4: El Dorado Savings hit — again |

Cops 0, robber 4: El Dorado Savings hit — again

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

For the fourth time since June 25, an El Dorado Savings Bank has been robbed.

The latest robbery occurred Wednesday at 4:22 p.m. when an unknown man used a note to take money from the branch at 942 Emerald Bay Road.

Police and others speculate Wednesday’s suspect was the same man from the three previous robberies. If so, he has a penchant for robbing the branch close to 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday’s robbery attracted a host of authorities who searched streets around the bank, such as Rogers Road. The man was last seen heading south from the bank toward Tucker Street.

People trying to use the bank were turned away by officers and yellow crime tape. No one was hurt. The branch on Emerald Bay Road was also hit on Aug. 4.

Officer Chuck Owens wondered how the man could pull off the heist with officers working overtime and surveying the banks.

Onlookers voiced frustration about another bank robbery and the man who got away.

“There’s another bank robbery?” asked a man going to the post office next door. “Good Lord. I wonder if it’s the same guy.”

Gene Ray, a postal employee, said he was focused on his work and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

“This is getting old,” Ray said. “I wish the guy would try and rob me with a note.”

The string of heists began June 25 when El Dorado Savings on Al Tahoe Boulevard was robbed. The Emerald Bay Road bank was robbed Aug. 4. Roughly three weeks later the branch on Lake Tahoe Boulevard was hit.

In all cases a man walked inside, armed with a backpack and note. No gun has been seen but the man usually implies possession of a firearm.

Over the past decade bank robberies at South Lake Tahoe averaged about 2.5 per year.

Although the same man may have committed the four robberies, history shows a chance remains for his capture. In 1992, Thomas Murry admitted to committing five bank robberies. He was caught stopped at a stop sign during a brief car chase after he robbed Bank of the West.

In 1999, Meredith Howard Polzel was arrested in Truckee for three South Shore bank robberies in six days. Tips and solid police work led authorities to Polzel. Both were eventually convicted.

Wednesday’s suspect was described as a white male about 6-feet tall. He had Oakley sunglasses and a manicured goatee. He wore a red hat, military green top, blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

Anybody with information is asked to call police Detective Mark Tappen at (530) 542-6100 or the FBI at (530) 542-4140. Those wishing to remain anonymous may contact Secret Witness at (530) 541-6800.

— E-mail William Ferchland at

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