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Press Release

Oakland Resident Indicted On Five Bank Robberies Across The Bay Area

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal grand jury indicted Duane Kurt Makela on charges he committed five bank robberies in the San Francisco Bay Area, announced Adam A. Reeves, Attorney for the United States acting under authority conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. 

According to the indictment filed yesterday and unsealed this morning, between October 19, 2018, and February 4, 2019, Makela, 49, of Oakland, used force, violence, and intimidation, to rob a credit union and four banks.  The robberies, four of them armed, occurred on the following dates and locations:

  • October 19, 2018 – Meriwest Credit Union in Mountain View, Calif.
  • October 22, 2018 – Chase Bank in South San Francisco, Calif.
  • November 5, 2018 – U.S. Bank in Alameda, Calif.
  • December 23, 2018 – U.S. Bank in Castro Valley, Calif.
  • February 4, 2019 – Wells Fargo Bank in Palo Alto, Calif. 

Makela allegedly stole a total of $33,301.00 from the credit union and banks.  With regard to the first four incidents, Makela was charged with armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d).  For the last incident, Makela was charged with bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a).   

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and Makela, like all defendants, is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 25 years in prison for each of the four armed bank robbery charges and 20 years in prison for the remaining bank robbery charge.  Additional fines, forfeitures, restitution, and special assessments may also be imposed.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.   

Makela appeared before U.S. Magistrate Sallie Kim today for his initial appearance and arraignment.  Magistrate Judge Kim ordered Makela to be held in federal custody pending the outcome of the case.  Makela’s next appearance is scheduled for May 23, 2019, at 1:30 p.m., before the Honorable William H. Orrick, U.S. District Judge. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Walsh is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Margoth Turcios.  The prosecution is the result of investigations by the FBI with assistance from the police departments of Mountain View, South San Francisco, Alameda, and Palo Alto, as well as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. 

Updated May 8, 2019