Bank Robber Nabbed

A federal grand jury indicted an Oakland man Tuesday, May 7, on charges stemming from five bank robberies throughout the Bay Area including one in Alameda last November. Duane Kurt Makela is alleged to have stolen $33,301 in  five heists between October 2018 and February 2019, according to the indictment. The indictment stated Makela, 49, “used force, violence and intimidation, to rob a credit union and four banks.”  

Authorities believe Makela began his robbery spree by at the Meriwest Credit Union in Mountain View on Oct. 19, according to a press release from the Northern District of California U.S. Attorney’s Office. During the robbery he allegedly presented a demand note to a teller, which threatened the teller with a gun and demanded money. He displayed a black handgun and stole $1,100 from the bank. As he left Makela allegedly dropped the note. Authorities were able to retrieve fingerprints from the note which led to his arrest. 

Before authorities could arrest Makela he robbed four more banks. He allegedly robbed a Chase Bank in South San Francisco for $16,930 on Oct. 22. He allegedly robbed the U.S. Bank inside the Safeway at South Shore Center for $11,500 on Nov. 5. On Dec. 23, Makela allegedly robbed another U.S. Bank inside a Safeway in Castro Valley for $928. Lastly, he allegedly stole $2,843 from a Wells Fargo Bank in Palo Alto on Feb. 4. 

Makela was arrested on April 23 at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland after his wife gave birth to their second child, according to police reports. He was charged with armed robbery for the first four robberies. He was charged with bank robbery for the last heist. Makela has an extensive criminal history, which includes an armed robbery conviction in 1999.

Makela faces a maximum of 25 years for the armed robberies and 20 years for the bank robbery. Makela’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 23 before U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco.