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Defendant pleads guilty to string of robberies

CARLSBAD — A bank robber awaiting trial whom witnesses said claimed to be the Geezer Bandit — but who is not — has changed his plea to guilty and faces 10 years in prison after admitting to several charges in a Vista courthouse Jan. 6.
Edward Bernard Power, 58, was arrested as a suspect in three robberies that all took place within 18 minutes on Nov. 1 in Carlsbad and Oceanside.
One was an attempt to rob a medical office and the other two were robberies that targeted banks.
Deputy District Attorney Anne Richardson said that at the trial call Power changed his plea to guilty.
Records show that he admitted to the robbery charge and two charges of attempted robbery, and accepted a 10-year prison sentence.
The plea saved him a little more than five years behind bars.
“His exposure was 15 years four months, so 10 years (time) was good,” Richardson said at a later date.
At the time of Power’s arrest, he was on probation for resisting a peace officer, according to records.
An employee at one of the locations Power entered to rob identified his vehicle and license plate, which led to his arrest that same day, police said.
The first two robbery attempts were unsuccessful, according to police.
He used a demand note in all three attempts, but only showed his weapon at the third attempt.
Power entered the Wells Fargo Bank on Vista Way in Oceanside and presented a demand note to a bank teller, and then revealed the handle of a dark-colored semi-automatic pistol hidden underneath his shirt, according to Lt. Kelly Cain of the Carlsbad Police Department.
Power received an unknown amount of cash.
Authorities determined that Power was not the Geezer Bandit, which was originally reported by witnesses who heard the robber identify himself as such.
“The Geezer Bandit,” is an elderly appearing man who was spotted with an oxygen tube in his jacket while he was robbing a bank.
He is wanted by the FBI as a suspect in 10 bank robberies that took place in the San Diego region between August 2009 and June 2010.
On the day of Power’s robberies, an Oceanside teller heard him say, “I am that guy,” and a supervisor heard him say “I am the Geezer Bandit,” according to Cain.
But authorities ruled out any such claims that Power was the Geezer Bandit.
“If we could hammer this guy as the Geezer Bandit, we would have done it,” Cain said.
Besides differences in Power and the Geezer Bandit’s age appearance, the way the robberies were conducted was not similar.
“The Geezer went up and down the coast,” Cain said of the Geezer’s bank robberies.
Power went door-to-door, he said.
His sentencing is set for Feb. 15 in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein.