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'Gilligan' held for murder

'Gilligan' held for murder

By Dana Yates

Dana Yates / Daily Journal
Police investigate the murder scene at 2830 Huntington Ave. in the North Fair Oaks neighborhood of unincorporated San Mateo County. A man wanted for a string of recent bank robberies is suspected of killing his wife there Monday morning.

Police arrested a man previously wanted for a recent string of bank robberies for stabbing his wife to death in their North Fair Oaks home yesterday morning.

Robert Lomas, 51, of Redwood City, is suspected of killing his wife Monday. The murder comes on the heels of an April domestic violence incident and five weeks of bank robberies in which Lomas allegedly disguised himself using a fisherman’s hat. The disguise earned him the moniker of the “Gilligan Robber.”

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at 9:55 a.m. yesterday from an unidentified man reporting a woman dead at 2830B Huntington Ave. in North Fair Oaks — the unincorporated area of Redwood City, said Sheriff’s Lt. Lisa Williams.

Responding officers found a woman dead at the in-law unit to the rear of the property. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene, Williams said.

By 11:30 a.m., a countywide alert was issued to all law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Lomas. He is considered possibly armed and dangerous. He has, in the past, threatened to stand off against police officers so they would kill him, according to the alert.

Similar messages were sent to surrounding counties to be on the lookout for Lomas who is known to take the bus. A countywide alert went out at approximately 9 p.m. that he was taken into custody.

Lomas was charged April 2 with domestic violence and pleaded no contest at his pretrial conference. At his May 9 sentencing, Commissioner Kathleen McKenna sentenced Lomas to 15 days jail with credit for two days already served and three years probation. He was required to enroll in domestic violence classes within 13 days — that deadline is today, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Lomas reportedly tried to enroll in domestic violence classes yesterday, but was denied because he did not have enough money.

The San Mateo County Superior Court also ordered him not to harass his wife. He was still allowed to be at the residence as long as he didn’t beat, hurt or harass her. He was ordered to surrender to jail June 16 and was eligible for the Sheriff’s Work Program, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The only other criminal case against Lomas in San Mateo County was a 1992 welfare fraud case, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Neighbors said the couple were quiet aside from a recent shouting match that occurred this weekend. Mark Abrams, who owns the house and whose brother lives in the main house, said the couple lived there for approximately a year.

“He always paid the rent on time,” Abrams said.

The woman did not work and stayed at home during the day. She was sick and was picked up before by ambulances, said Abrams.

The Sheriff’s Office is treating the homicide as the number one priority, but the Redwood City police have been notified of the incident and Lomas’ likely involvement in the string of recent bank robberies — two of which were in Redwood City.

Williams would not disclose how police learned of Lomas’ connection to the bank robberies. Both his recent booking photo and security camera images from recent bank robberies show a stark resemblance.

Lomas allegedly began robbing banks in 2002 and 2003. At that time he robbed five banks in Redwood City, Union City, Sunnyvale and Mountain View. Last month, just more than two weeks after his domestic violence arrest, Lomas began robbing some of the same banks in Union City and Redwood City. He also robbed a bank in San Carlos.

On April 21, at approximately 11:27 a.m. Saturday, police said the man robbed the Washington Mutual Bank, located at 845 Laurel St. in San Carlos. The man demanded money from multiple tellers. No weapons were displayed and no one was hurt during the incident, according to a statement released last month by San Carlos police.

On April 28, the same man allegedly robbed a bank in a Mountain View Albertson’s grocery store, Redwood City police Detective Jeff Price told the Daily Journal on May 12.

On May 4, just after 2 p.m., the man allegedly robbed the Fremont Bank inside a Newark Safeway, Price said.

Just 45 minutes later, the same man robbed the First National Bank at 700 El Camino Real in Redwood City. He walked into the bank, approached a teller, handed over a dark blue canvas bag and demanded money. He left with an undisclosed amount of money, Price said.

All those banks, except for the San Carlos Washington Mutual and the Sequoia Station Wells Fargo, were robbed by a man matching the same description in 2002 and 2003, Price said.