O.C. Answer Man: Any notable bank robberies in Orange County history?


Illustration by Blair Thornley

One real doozy comes to mind. According to local historian and Dana Point Mayor Carlos N. Olvera, President Richard Nixon once talked labor leader Jimmy Hoffa into paying $3 million for a pardon to get out of prison. Once freed, Hoffa wanted his money back, and he knew Nixon had it in safe deposit boxes at United California Bank at Monarch Bay Plaza, now part of Dana Point. Someone enlisted a group of thieves from Ohio to rob the bank, get Hoffa’s money back, and help themselves to any other loot. The crooks cut through the bank’s roof and vault ceiling on a Friday night in March of 1972, and spent the weekend busting into about 500 safety deposit boxes. They took an estimated $30 million. Accounting for inflation, it was the largest bank heist in U.S. history. The robbers later were caught and served time. And according to Olvera’s account, Hoffa eventually got about $1 million of his money back.

Chris Jepsen is the Answer Man. Have a question? Send it to cjepsen@socal.rr.com.

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