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San Diego Brain Doctor-Turned-Bank Robber Gets 10 Years to Think About It

UC San Diego neuroscience researcher gets lengthy sentence for pulling off nearly a dozen robberies

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 A former postdoctoral neuroscience researcher at UC San Diego who carried out a series of bank heists throughout the county was sentenced Wednesday to more than a decade in state prison.

Karl Doron, 46, pleaded guilty earlier this year to nearly a dozen robbery and attempted robbery counts stemming from a string of bank robberies he committed between Dec. 28, 2018, and March 5, 2019, in various parts of San Diego, as well as Chula Vista.

Doron earned a doctorate in psychological and brain sciences from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 and previously served as an infantry squad leader in the Marine Corps, according to his LinkedIn page. His last entry on the page was for work as a postdoctoral scholar at UCSD, which ended in January 2015 and involved conducting "real-time brain-machine interface experiments using electroencephalography."

Doron was arrested on March 5, 2019, after leaving the Navy Federal Credit Union in Sorrento Valley, where he demanded cash from employees. He was carrying a loaded handgun and just over $5,000 in cash when taken into custody, according to police and prosecutors.

The plea deal included admissions that he was armed with a handgun during the last two robberies.

On Wednesday, Doron was sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

In most of the heists, Doron was not accused of being armed or using force, but, rather, securing cash through verbal demands or notes slipped to bank tellers. He made off with anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000 in each robbery, and between $10,000 and $15,000 total, according to prosecutors.

Investigators tracked Doron down through his car, which was photographed by a teller following an attempted robbery. Surveillance footage from another robbery also captured the license plate of the suspect's car, police said.

Following his arrest, investigators searched Doron's home in Clairemont and found some clothes matching apparel the suspect was seen wearing in surveillance footage. Investigators also found a calculator, which prosecutors said the suspect held up to his ear as though it were a cell phone during some of the robberies.

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