President of the Nat’l Air Traffic Controllers Ass’n’s San Fran. Local and veteran S.F. Int’l Airport air traffic controller believed by police to be the “Robust Robber” was indicted Aug. 16 in a string of bank holdups that authorities said he blamed on financial problems. Rick L. Davis was named in a nine-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Oakland that said he netted $40,000 during a 10-month spree in Fremont, Union City, and Concord. Police dubbed him the “Robust Robber” because of his stocky build.
Davis’ attorney, Randy S. Pollock of Oakland, said that she has asked for a court date of Aug. 27, at which time Davis — who police say confessed committing the robberies — intends to plead not guilty to all counts.
He is now on unpaid suspension, the latest in a string of personal problems, his attorney said. In 1996, Davis was seriously hurt when his car hit a cow in Hawaii, where he had been living with his wife and two sons. Davis later divorced and filed for bankruptcy. Davis told police he robbed banks to help pay for airline tickets for his children to visit him, authorities said.
According to the indictment, Davis robbed the Bank of the West in Fremont of $4,471 on Oct. 17, the Wells Fargo Bank in Fremont of $1,722 on Nov. 16, and then tried to rob the Citibank on Decoto Road in Union City on Nov. 24. He then allegedly returned to the same Bank of the West in Fremont on Dec. 15 and stole $5,707 and robbed the Wells Fargo Bank in Union City of $8,070 on Jan. 16. Exactly a month later, police said, he returned to the same Wells Fargo and stole $4,706. After a three-month hiatus, authorities said, Davis robbed the Wells Fargo Bank on Paseo Parkway in Fremont of $8,103 and the Fremont Bank of $3,917. But his alleged streak ended on Aug. 3 when off-duty Concord police Officer David Espinosa spotted Davis as he robbed the Bank of America in Concord of $3,199 and took him into custody outside [S.F. Chron. 8/17/01]