H-CENTRAL COAST

Nov 18, 2013 8:43 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Suspected bank robber a family therapist

A 55-year-old Arroyo Grande man is in jail, accused of robbing a Santa Maria Wells Fargo Bank at gunpoint over the weekend. It happened around 9:00 am on Saturday. Soon after the hold-up, police arrested Arthur McClay Watkins as they say he tried to leave the scene. Neighbors told KSBY Watkins, a father of two, tended to keep to himself when at home. We also discovered Watkins is a board certified family and marriage therapist practicing out of the Five Cities area. KSBY spoke with a former patient who was shocked when she flipped on the news Saturday evening. "I had walked into my bedroom, turned on the TV and I thought, what?" she said. This former patient of Arthur Watkins, who asked not to be identified, says she feels violated by the thought that someone she trusted with her deepest secrets could be desperate enough to rob a bank. "It scared me. I thought, here is a person I gave all my information to. When you go to the doctor, you give them all your information," said the former patient. "They have your driver's license, they know where you live, they know everything about you." She says she was referred to Watkins through a community website called SLO County Mommies, a site allowing moms throughout the area to offer recommendations for a variety of services. "I felt that he helped me professionally," she said. However, she says looking at what he's accused of has her taking precautions. "I pulled up my three credit reports and wanted to know if there was any suspicious thing going on through there because I value my credit," she said. She added how one of her appointments was canceled due to the fact that Watkins said he was taking a lavish vacation with his family. "He just looked like a family man," she said. "You would never know that he would go to that extreme." Police confirmed Watkins does not have a criminal record. KSBY was also told Watkins coaches youth soccer in the area. We attempted to reach out to his family, but they did not wish to speak with us. The case is now in the hands of the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office which is set to decide on formal charges Tuesday.

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