VALLEJO – Two men are in custody and police are looking for a third in connection with nine East Bay bank robberies that have occurred since July.
According to a police statement, 31-year-old John Cullum of Iowa was arrested on Thursday and charged with three robberies that occurred in Solano County. Authorities in Contra Costa and Alameda counties are also said to be filing robbery charges against Cullum.
Also arrested was Vallejo resident Derrick Mapes, 23, who is charged with driving a getaway car during one of the robberies, police said.
Vallejo resident Royce Gipson, 33, has been identified as a third suspect but he has not been taken into custody.
Police allege that Cullum has been living in area motels since April but started robbing banks on July 25, when he hit the Bayview Bank on Tennessee Street. After that, they said he committed additional robberies in Pinole, Richmond, San Leandro, Fremont and Albany.
In all of the robberies police said the suspect would demand money from bank tellers after giving them a note that indicated he had a gun. No gun was ever seen, however, and there were no injuries in any of the robberies.
Multiple police departments worked with the FBI on the case until investigators received a break in the case following a robbery that occurred Aug. 28 at the Mechanic's Bank in Pinole. A witness to that robbery was able to provide a partial license plate number to police who connected it with a vehicle that had been registered at several area motels.
A surveillance operation was set up based on that information and, with the use of surveillance photos taken at several of the robberies, police arrested Cullum.