Suspected Bank Bandit, 81, Arrested in Carlsbad

Michael Lehman, 81, is accused of stealing money from a Chase Bank in San Marcos, threatening a teller with a gun and bomb

A bomb squad was called to Carlsbad Friday after police discovered a suspicious device inside a car believed to have been involved in a bank robbery.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) said deputies received a call of a bank robbery at the Chase Bank on the 1900 block of West San Marcos Boulevard near south Rancho Santa Fe Road in San Marcos around 5 p.m.

According to officials, the bank was robbed by a lone gunman who placed a black box on a teller’s counter and handed the teller a demand note. The note said he was armed with a gun and a bomb. The suspect then flashed a handgun, and teller gave him some cash.

The SDSO said the suspect walked out of the bank with the stolen money and drove away in a silver Toyota sedan. A bank employee was able to jot down part of the suspect’s license plate number before he sped off.

Around 5:15 p.m., a Carlsbad Police Department patrol unit spotted the suspect's vehicle on Palomar Airport Road near Interstate 5 in Carlsbad.

The officer pulled the vehicle over and the driver – 81-year-old Michael Lehman – was detained. Officials said witnesses identified Lehman was the man who had allegedly robbed the Chase Bank in San Marcos.

Lehman was arrested at the scene.

As officers searched the suspect’s car, the black box he had carried into the bank earlier was found inside the vehicle. As a precaution, bomb squad officials were called to the scene to investigate the box.

A robot was deployed and officials ultimately determined the black box was not a bomb.

[G] Suspicious Device Found Inside Car, Bomb Unit Called Out

Officers also found a handgun in the passenger seat of Lehman's vehicle, as well as the cash believed to have been stolen during the bank robbery.

No one was injured in the bank robbery. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information on this case can call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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