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High-Speed Chase Lands Suspected Santa Barbara Bank Robber Behind Bars

A suspected serial bank robber is behind bars after a dramatic, high-speed police pursuit through Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Steven Bartlett is accused of pulling off ten bank robberies throughout Southern California, including two last month in Santa Barbara.

The 53-year-old man was nabbed in dramatic fashion Thursday during a televised police chase.

Helicopter cameras caught Bartlett zipping in and out of traffic along freeways, allegedly in a stolen truck.

The chase ended when the truck plunged off the 210 freeway in Rialto.

“Due to the type of vehicle he was driving, the size of it, the speeds in which he was traveling and amount of commuter traffic we had out here today, we are extremely lucky no one was hurt or killed,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Alvarez.

Authorities believe Bartlett is the so-called “Hills Bandit” who robbed ten banks across Southern California, including two Santa Barbara banks last month: The Bank of the West and Montecito Bank and Trust on State Street.

The suspect in both local cases wore a “Titleist” baseball cap and was allegedly armed.

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