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45 years to life sentence in Point Arena bank robbery

  • Frederick Joseph Orlando of Magalia in booking photo after Aug. 23 arrest in connection with Point Arena robbery. (Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

A Butte County bank robber who targeted small, rural institutions in hopes of easy getaways was sentenced last week to 45 years to life in state prison for a Point Arena robbery and is a suspect in two other holdups, including one in Forestville, authorities said.

Frederick Joseph Orlando of Magalia, near Chico, was arrested with son-in-law, Raymon Ojeda, 39, of Pico Rivera near Los Angeles, after the Aug. 23 heist at the Redwood Credit Union in Point Arena, Mendocino County officials said.

Orlando, 55, also has been linked to the Jan. 13, 2011, robbery of Bank of the West in Forestville and a February holdup in Amador County, thanks to an investigator's sharp memory.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Lt. Greg Van Patten, who oversees investigations for his department, said he was sitting in on Orlando's questioning after his Aug. 23 arrest when "the lightbulb went off and I knew I'd seen this guy before."

The next day he realized the image he couldn't shake had been posted on a Sonoma County Sheriff's Office flier more than a year and a half earlier and featuring surveillance photos from the Forestville heist.

Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster said Orlando served more than 11 years in federal prison for a 1990 conviction in four Southern California bank robberies.

Orlando later remarried and moved to Magalia, where he enjoyed collecting old clocks, although his modest lifestyle did not suggest a life funded by occasional bank robberies, Van Patten said.

Orlando, who was sentenced Wednesday in Ukiah, told authorities he blamed the financial industry for investment losses suffered by him and his wife and he returned to bank robbery because he felt wronged, Eyster and Van Patten said. Maps and other evidence in his house suggested extensive research and planning went into his robberies, Van Patten said.

Orlando initially told investigators the credit union was his first holdup since prison. But confronted with the Forestville holdup, Orlando admitted his involvement, causing Van Patten to wonder what else Orlando was not telling.

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