“Cotton Ball Bandit” convicted for 10 bank robberies

SAN RAFAEL (BCN) — A Marin County jury convicted a Larkspur man Wednesday of robbing banks throughout Marin County in 2012 and 2013.

Christopher Jay Wootton, 61, was dubbed the “Cotton Ball Bandit” because of a knit hat with earflaps and a cotton ball that he wore during some of the heists.

He was convicted of 10 bank robberies and an attempted bank robbery, his attorney Michael Coffino said. The jury deliberated over a period of three days.

The jury will return to court Friday to decide whether Wootton has prior felony convictions for kidnapping and burglary that could increase his sentence. A sentencing date has not been set.

Wootton was charged with robbing banks in San Rafael, San Anselmo, Greenbrae, Corte Madera, Tiburon and Novato between Dec. 12, 2012 and Dec. 11, 2013. He also was charged with an attempted bank robbery, commercial burglary, evading police while driving recklessly, possession of a loaded weapon and assaulting police with a weapon.

Wooton was arrested on Dec. 11, 2013 after the Novato Bank of the West robbery. A Marin County sheriff’s deputy followed his silver Saturn from southbound U.S. Highway 101 into San Rafael where he crashed into a light police near the Northgate Mall.

When Wootton got out of the car with a gun in his hand he was shot by Deputy Donald Carpenter. Wootton was hospitalized until Dec. 17 and booked in the Marin County Jail. The Marin County District Attorney’s Office filed 16 charges against him.

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