Former cop arrested in armored car robberies

August 25, 2009 12:58:40 PM PDT
Santa Rosa police have arrested a former police officer and another man on suspicion of robbing four armored cars at banks in Marin and Sonoma counties since 2007.

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Former Santa Rosa police officer Robert Stephen Starling, 35, and Andrew Cooper Esslinger, 26, both of Santa Rosa, were arrested in separate traffic stops in the city on Monday, police Sgt. Lisa Banayat said.

Both men also were arrested on suspicion of falsely reporting that there was a gun on the campus of the Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park on March 18, Banayat said. The school was locked down for several hours because of the report.

Starling was a patrol officer between December 2000 and April 2001, Banayat said. He left the force and was rehired in May 2003, then voluntarily left in July 2006, Banayat said.

She would not disclose the reasons for his leaving because it is a personnel matter.

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