Santa Clara officials say possible robbery suspect threatened woman with knife, stole van

Katie Marzullo Image
ByKatie Marzullo KGO logo
Friday, January 27, 2017
Manhunt for bank robber continues in Santa Cruz Mountains
The manhunt for a suspect in the robbery of a Scotts Valley Bank of America continues Friday night as police keep their presence heightened near Redwood Estates.

LOS GATOS, Calif. (KGO) -- The manhunt for the suspect who forced the closure of Highway 17 in both directions for nearly 10 hours is still on Thursday in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's gave a brief press conference around 11:40 p.m. Thursday night detailing an incident at a home near Locust Drive.

Officials say it is 'highly likely' that the bank robbery suspect threatened a woman with a knife and stole her van late Thursday evening and is still on the loose in the Santa Cruz Mountain area.

Officials say that shortly after 10 p.m. a walked into her home on Weaver Road at Soda Spring road and encountered a man with a knife. They say he stole her van, but was last seen on foot.

He is described as 'highly likely' to be the robbery suspect from the Scotts Valley Bank of America. A spokesperson for the sheriff's said he was last seen wearing a green beanie, teal San Jose Sharks shirt, dark pants, black and white shoes and blue gloves.

The woman is alright. The suspect is considered to be armed and dangerous.

RELATED: Sheriffs search for robbery suspect in Santa Cruz Mountains

Traffic in the area was at a standstill for hours. Some commuters like Robert Esposito gave up, and parked on the shoulder. "I just decided to read a book and clean up my van and stuff," he said.

The CHP shut down Highway 17 in both directions while Sheriff's deputies searched for the man who robbed the Bank of America in Scotts Valley just before 10 a.m.

"The integrity of the crime scene needs not to be disturbed," said Officer Ross Lee of the CHP. "It's also an officer safety concern."

There was a pursuit on Highway 17 ending when the suspect crashed his white Chrysler Sedan around 10:30 a.m. A Scotts Valley police officer fired shots at the suspect, not known if he was hit. He took off on foot.

"We're getting assistance from CHP, SVPD, Santa Cruz so and so since this a was a bank robbery also the FBI," said Sgt. Richard Glennon.

The crash site became an active crime scene. Canines were brought in for a search in the heavily wooded area.

People in Redwood Estates were told to shelter in place. Schools were locked down and homes were searched.

When asked what the scene looked like resident Dave Barnes said, "Maybe 50, 50 officers, 50 cars. There's a heck of a lot of manpower out here for what's going on. It looks like, that's for sure,"

"I can't get home," said Santa Cruz Mountains resident Thomas Price. "I can't drop off my dog. Can't even go to work. It's blocked completely out."

Officials do not know if the suspect is armed.

Anyone in Redwood Estates who sees anything suspicious on their property is asked to call the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office or 911.