H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Nov 22, 2013 7:11 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Former sheriff's deputy appears in court after allegedly robbing a bank

The former Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputy accused of robbing a bank in Cambria earlier this month made his first appearance in court Friday.

Bruce Valentine is accused of waving a gun around inside the Rabobank in Cambria on November 7, demanding cash, and then fleeing the scene.

A search warrant was issued for his home on Tuesday and Valentine was taken into custody the next day.

He faces two counts of second degree robbery and one count of commercial burglary. Each carries a weapon enhancement charge for the gun investigators say he used during the alleged crime.

Valentine was in court Friday by himself. Family members did not attend the appearance.

Valentine stood quietly while the judge read the charges against him. When asked if he had an attorney, he told the judge no and a public defender was assigned to his case.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says Valentine served as a deputy during the 1970s. He left in 1977 because of a disability.

Neighbors say they are still in shock at the thought of Valentine robbing a bank. They say he is a family man living in the quiet community of Heritage Ranch.

Valentine lived with his wife, daughter and two young grandchildren. Neighbors say they have no idea what would cause him to allegedly rob a bank and said they are not aware of any financial troubles.

Witnesses at Rabobank said Valentine got into a dark or medium gray Hyundai coupe after exiting the bank; however, neighbors say they have never seen that vehicle before.

Neighbors say Valentine was a good and friendly neighbor who was consistently seen waking up early to take his grandchildren to school.

Valentine's bail was originally set at $250,000, but it was increased Friday to $500,000.

Valentine will be back in court next Tuesday for his arraignment. According to San Luis Obispo Superior Court records, he does not have a criminal history.

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