Down and Out in Rancho Santa Margarita

Longreads

When a reporter asked bank robber Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, the line he uttered became such a popular way of stating the obvious that it became known as Sutton’s Law: “Because that’s where the money is.” In 2015, 70-year old retired California detective Randy Adair landed in prison after robbing his fifth bank, confounding his friends and old coworkers. Why would a respected lawman with a pension and family commit crimes? In Los Angeles Magazine, journalist Jeff Maysh asks that same question and finds out how things went wrong for Adair.

His first was on the afternoon of March 24, 1969, when a silent alarm inside the United California Bank in Mid City signaled a robbery in progress. Exiting the bank with the cash and a loaded revolver when Adair and company arrived, the thief turned and ran back into the building. They found him in…

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