'He pulled right over'

Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

A Gasquet man has been arrested in connection with 10 bank robberies in Northern California and Southern Oregon within the past year.

Two of those robberies were in Crescent City.

Mark A. Cardinal, 58, was apprehended Monday near Cave Junction. The vehicle he was driving was suspected of being involved in a Grants Pass bank robbery earlier in the day, said Del Norte County sheriff's Commander Bill Steven.

Cardinal's vehicle was also identified as being involved in a Cave Junction bank robbery Friday.

Oregon State Police officers had just finished an arrest in Kerby following a shooting investigation when they heard an alert that a white, mid-size, four-door vehicle matching the description of one that was involved in a Grants Pass robbery earlier in the day was headed toward them, said OSP Lt. Gregg Hastings.

"He pulled right over," said Hastings.

Cardinal was arrested north of Kerby at 12:32 p.m.

He is suspected of robbing the Chase Bank branch inside the Fred Meyer store in Grants Pass Parkway about an hour earlier, Hastings said.

Cardinal is also suspected in a Friday robbery of the Sterling Bank branch in Cave Junction at around 4:15 p.m.

In both instances, the robber gave a note to a teller and displayed a firearm.

Those robberies were the latest in a string that included robberies in McKinleyville, Arcata, two in Crescent City two in Cave Junction, three in Grants Pass and one in Myrtle Creek, Steven said.

Cardinal confessed to the robberies during an interrogation with an FBI agent, Steven said.

The investigation involves several agencies, including the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office, Crescent City Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and FBI branches in both Oregon and California.

The Del Norte Sheriff's Office served a search warrant at his residence at 9851 Wetherell Lane in Gasquet on Monday.

Cardinal "has been living a somewhat quiet existence in Gasquet since October," said Steven.

In February, a man walked into the U.S. Bank branch at 1020 3rd Street in Crescent City brandishing a pistol and demanding money from a bank teller.

Last December, a man walked into the Coast Central Credit Union in Crescent City, presented a letter demanding money and brandished a gun.

Cardinal is said to have admitted to both robberies.

He also implicated himself in an Arcata robbery of the Northern Redwood Federal Credit Union just a few weeks prior to the December robbery in Crescent City, Steven said.

Cardinal is being held in the Josephine County Jail on suspicion of two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree robbery and three counts of first-degree theft.

Friday marked the second time Cardinal allegedly robbed the Sterling Bank branch in Cave Junction. The first robbery was April 8.

The two robberies in Grants Pass preceding last Friday's wereMarch 13 at the Chase Bank branch and April 18 at a U.S. Bank in Albertson's on Allen Creek Road.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office could not confirm on Wednesday the robberies Cardinal is suspected of in its jurisdiction, said Humboldt Sheriff's Lt. Steve Knight.

"At this point we don't know what he's responsible for," said Knight. "He has said he was involve in a robbery possibly in McKinleyville. We don't know at this time what kind of robbery."

The Humboldt Sheriff's Office is coordinating with the Eureka FBI branch to investigate Cardinal's possible bank robberies in Humboldt County.

Reach Anthony Skeens at askeens@triplicate.com .

The Del Norte Triplicate
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