'Confession' uttered in bank robbery arraignment
A Chico man was arraigned in Colusa County Superior Court Friday on charges that he robbed the U.S. Bank in Colusa on March 8.
Michael B. Taylor, 54, did not enter a plea, but seemingly confessed when he said he was "extremely regretful of what I've done" while Judge Betsy Olivera was discussing his bail.
Olivera stopped him from making any additional comments, but the utterance had already been made.
Asked if he could afford his own attorney, Taylor said, "I honestly don't know at this point. It will depend if I still have a fiancé."
He added, "If it was lower, I might be able to pay and go home."
Olivera kept Taylor's bail on the charges of robbery and burglary at $50,000 and appointed public defender Albert Smith to represent him.
Taylor is scheduled to return to court at 1 p.m. Wednesday to enter a plea.
Colusa police Sgt. Josh Fitch said Wednesday that Taylor also confessed at the time of his arrest to the bank robbery in Colusa, as well as one in Los Molinos on March 4.
Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen said he expects to move quickly on the matter.
"From what I have heard from our detective and from the chief of police down in Colusa, it looks like we will be filing charges against him soon ... within a couple of weeks."
Colusa County District Attorney John Poyner said the U.S. Attorney's Office has not expressed interest in the cases, in part because there were no weapons or violence involved in either case.
Taylor reportedly threatened to blow up the Colusa bank or a school, and in the Umpqua Bank in Los Molinos, reportedly said he would detonate a bomb at Los Molinos High School.
Taylor was arrested by Colusa police at his home Wednesday, in conjunction with the FBI, Chico police and Colusa County sheriff's deputies.
The amount of money Taylor reportedly robbed from U.S. Bank and Umpqua Bank has not been disclosed, but Fitch said none of the money has been recovered.
Apparently, Fitch added, Taylor had gambled it away.
Shared information with Colusa Casino Resort helped the Colusa police track Taylor to his Chico home, Fitch said.
"Our investigation revealed a vehicle used by him, and with information from that vehicle, we learned about his residence, wrote a search warrant and served the warrant at his residence," Fitch said Wednesday.
Taylor had been at the Colusa casino prior to the U.S. Bank robbery, Fitch said.
"He left the local casino and then went to the bank," Fitch said.
Actually, Taylor reportedly stopped at a small market before going to the bank. Poyner said Taylor told investigators he purchased the dark beanie he is seen wearing in the U.S. Bank on security footage.
The robber entered the bank about 1 p.m. Tuesday and demanded money from a teller or said he would blow up a school or the bank branch, the police reported.
The threat against the school was similar to the threat the robber in Los Molinos made, and was enough for police to contact the Tehama County Sheriff's Department.
The general description of the suspect in each case was also similar, and once the two agencies exchanged photos from bank security cameras, Fitch said, it was clear the two robberies were done by the same suspect.
After Taylor had left US. Bank, he fled on foot, also similar to the Los Molinos robbery.
After leaving the U.S. Bank, Taylor apparently headed to a casino in Oroville, where he reportedly lost all the money he is believed to have stolen, Fitch said.
The FBI located the car about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, and watched the house until Colusa police and the other agencies arrived with the search warrant.
Among the items recovered from the house were clothing that matched those worn during the Colusa robbery, a bank card that had been used at the Colusa casino and Map Quest directions to Colusa, Fitch said.