Prolific Bank Robber Wanted for Local Hold-Ups

The FBI is hunting for a man who has robbed at least 15 banks across California – including three in Santa Barbara and Goleta.

The bank robber – dubbed the “Sleeves Bandit” for the fake tattoo sleeves he sometimes wears – often brandishes a pistol during his stick-ups, and is wanted by more than 10 law enforcement agencies. The FBI and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department are asking the public for help identifying the outlaw.

In January, the “armed takeover specialist” hit two Goleta banks in one day, robbing Los Padres Bank and the Santa Barbara Bank & Trust on the 16th. The prolific thief struck again two weeks ago, when he held up the Santa Barbara Wescom Credit Union on Mar. 21.

During his robberies, the Sleeves Bandit typically wears a ski mask, baseball cap and enters the bank near closing time. Witnesses estimate the man is in his 50’s and weighs between 180 and 200 pounds.

In at least one robbery, the brigand was described as smelling heavily of alcohol.

First Lady to Address Merced’s First Full Senior Class

UC Merced snagged a prominent U.S. figure for its upcoming graduation speech – First Lady Michelle Obama.

Last week, the White House announced that Obama will address the graduating class of 450 students at the university’s May 16 commencement. It is one of two graduation speeches the First Lady will deliver this spring – the other is at a Washington, D.C. charter high school.

A group of Merced students spearheaded the effort to bring Obama to campus and conducted a “Dear Michelle” campaign for months to lure her to the newest UC.

In a UC Merced press release, student Sam Fong said most people thought the idea of having Obama at their commencement was a long shot. However, with students starting a Facebook group and sending her letters and over 900 valentines, the campaign proved a success, he said.

“While we were working on this campaign, many people told us that it was impossible, that Michelle Obama would never come to UC Merced,” Fong said. “But our team worked hard, believing all along that the First Lady would respond to our efforts and our passion. Now, our efforts have paid off, and we are all tremendously excited for Mrs. Obama to come to UC Merced!”

UC Merced – which opened in 2005 – is the 10th and newest campus in the UC system. This year, the university will see its first graduating class to have been there four full years.

Study Reveals Romance Can Sometimes Last

A surprising study authored by a UCSB researcher has proven that some married couples are actually still in love.

The new study, published in the March issue of the journal Review of General Psychology, surveyed over 6,000 couples in both newly formed and long-term relationships, many of whom had been married for over 20 years.

The survey, which distinguished between romantic love and companionship or friendship-like love, revealed 13 percent of participants in long-term relationships, were in fact, still in romantic love.

According to Bianca Acevedo, a postdoctoral researcher at UCSB and author of the study, the evidence of enduring love uncovered by her survey serves as a source of hope for couples entering marriage.

“Being in the mindset that [long-term romance] is probably not something to shoot for might be discouraging to some people,” she told LiveScience. “They might think, ‘This is probably as good as it gets.’ I think it’s important for people to at least know that it could be attainable.”