Home San Diego Press Releases 2013 Bank Robber Known as the ‘Insistent Bandit’ Pleads Guilty to Six Counts of Bank Robbery

Bank Robber Known as the ‘Insistent Bandit’ Pleads Guilty to Six Counts of Bank Robbery

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 04, 2013
  • Southern District of California (619) 557-5610

Steve Edward Ruby, the serial bank robber known as the “Insistent Bandit,” pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes to six counts of bank robbery and one count of attempted bank robbery.

In one of the robberies, Ruby was seen riding a woman’s red mountain bike and wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt with the slogan “Bite Me.” He was known for approaching tellers with a loud and demanding tone, often lifting his shirt to reveal a gun tucked inside his waistband and insisting, “I am armed. I have a gun. Give me all your money.”

In his plea agreement, Ruby admitted he robbed the same bank—Pacific Western Bank located at 9955 Mission Gorge Road in Santee—two times in January, taking a total of $3,103. When he attempted to rob the same bank a third time on February 14, 2012, tellers recognized him and refused to let him in.

In the first robbery, Ruby admitted he told the teller, “This is a robbery. I am not kidding. I have a gun. I’ll shoot [use] it. Give me all your loose money.” When he returned the second time, the plea agreement said, he terrorized the same teller, saying in a loud voice, “We’re going to do this again. Give me all your loose bills starting with your third drawer and no bait.”

Ruby also admitted to robbing four additional banks in February, including the Home Bank of California located at 875 Garnet Avenue in San Diego, taking a total of $607; U.S. Bank at 9643 Mission Gorge Road in San Diego, taking a total of $1,211; a different branch of the Pacific Western Bank located at 368 Broadway in El Cajon, taking a total of $1,432; and the Wells Fargo bank located at 6670 Montezuma Road, in San Diego, taking a total of $9,903. The grand total was $16,246.

Ruby is scheduled to appear for sentencing before Judge Hayes on September 3, 2013, at 9:00 a.m.

Ruby had an accomplice, Spiros Romensas, who acted as Ruby’s getaway driver during two of the February bank robberies. Romensas was convicted of two counts of aiding and abetting bank robbery on April 18, 2013, after a jury trial. Romensas is scheduled to appear for sentencing before Judge Hayes on July 15, 2013, at 9:00 a.m.

Ruby was caught after FBI agents issued an alert for a maroon truck seen leaving the banks after a number of the robberies. A sheriff’s deputy conducting other business at the A-American Storage facility on Greenfield Drive in El Cajon saw what he believed to be the maroon truck parked at the storage facility and contacted the managers of the business to determine the truck’s owner.

The managers identified Romensas as the owner of the truck and identified Romensas’ friend, Steve Ruby, as a frequent passenger in the truck.

The driver’s license photo of Ruby matched the bank surveillance photos of the robber. Surveillance footage taken on February 21, 2012, from A-American Storage depicts Ruby loading a red bicycle into the back of Romensas’ truck while wearing a white shirt with the words “Bite Me” on it in big red lettering.

Ten minutes later, Ruby was captured on surveillance footage from the Pacific Western Bank riding a red bike up to the bank, wearing the “Bite Me” shirt while robbing the bank.

Defendants in Case Number: 12CR1073-WQH

Steve Ruby
Age: 54
El Cajon, California

Spiros Romensas
Age: 53
La Mesa, California

Summary of Charges

Counts one through seven: Title 18, United States Code, Section 2113(a)—bank robbery and attempted bank robbery
Maximum penalties: 20 years’ imprisonment and $250,000 fine

Investigating Agencies

Federal Bureau of Investigation Violent Crimes Task Force