A retired LAPD detective who helped capture Sirhan Sirhan after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 was charged Friday with robbing a bank in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Randolph Bruce Adair. Courtesy of Orange County Sheriff’s Department
Randolph Bruce Adair. Courtesy of Orange County Sheriff’s Department

Randolph Bruce Adair, 70, of Rancho Santa Margarita is suspected in five heists, but is charged so far with the most recent holdup credited to the Snowbird Bandit.

According to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Christopher Gicking, a First Citizens Bank branch at 29818 Santa Margarita Parkway was robbed just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The bandit handed a demand note to a teller stating, “I have a gun, give me all large bills. No trash,” before getting away with $1,658.

After authorities publicly released video surveillance photos of the suspect, the defendant’s family called investigators and said Adair “is retired, on a fixed income, and a heavy gambler,” Gicking wrote.

The retired detective, who worked for the Los Angeles Police Department from 1969-88, was arrested Wednesday. A search of his car led investigators to recover a loaded .38 caliber handgun, authorities said.

Adair told The Orange County Register in 1998 that as a rookie cop he was among the officers who responded to the Ambassador Hotel following the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and witnessed the arrest of gunman Sirhan Sirhan.

He told the paper he helped control the crowd while officers cuffed Sirhan. Relatives said Adair escorted Kennedy’s wife and astronaut John Glenn to the hospital where the senator was taken.

Adair’s family members told the paper he rescued seven people from a burning low-income home around 1970. They also said he worked on the Freeway Strangler and Night Stalker cases.

Adair has had a series of heart attacks in the past couple of years, the family told the Register.

When Adair was shown surveillance video photos of the Snowbird Bandit, he said, “I’m cooked. I think I should have a lawyer,” according to Gicking.

Adair is expected to make his first court appearance Monday. Federal prosecutors may charge him with more heists later, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In addition to the Tuesday holdup, the Snowbird Bandit — the FBI coined the moniker based on the suspect’s age and appearance — is suspected of robberies at:

  • A U.S. Bank branch in Ladera Ranch on July 6
  • A Wells Fargo Bank branch in Mission Viejo on June 11
  • First Citizens Bank branch in Rancho Santa Margarita on May 22
  • And a California Bank and Trust in Dana Point on March 20.

— City News Service contributed to this report.

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