Sex offender accused of SLO bank robbery is found mentally competent

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comFebruary 24, 2014 

A convicted sex offender accused of bank robbery was found competent to stand trial Monday after a review of his mental health.

Andrew Gilbertson, 39, of Paso Robles was charged with robbing a Bank of America in San Luis Obispo last July. But his case was suspended once the public defender’s office declared a doubt in his ability to understand the nature of the criminal proceedings and his ability to assist his defense.

Psychiatric evaluations were ordered and returned to the court. Upon receipt of those reports Monday, Superior Court Judge Teresa Estrada Mullaney declared Gilbertson competent to stand trial. As a result, his criminal case will resume with a trial-setting conference March 19.

Gilbertson, who has pleaded not guilty, was charged amid a spate of local bank robberies last summer. Gilbertson allegedly entered the Bank of America with a baseball hat and a pink child’s backpack. Bank employees did not see a weapon, though the suspect displayed a note to the teller demanding money.

Gilbertson has a lengthy criminal history that includes sexual battery. He is listed as a registered sex offender in the Megan’s Law database.

In unrelated bank robbery cases, Steven Daniel Celaya, 32, was sentenced in October to three years in prison for robbing two banks — one in San Luis Obispo and another in Atascadero — and Bruce Valentine, 70, pleaded no contest earlier this month to robbing a bank in Cambria. Meanwhile, Cristina Padilla, 51, is still facing charges for allegedly robbing several banks in three counties.

Padilla — whom law enforcement dubbed the “Central Coast Bandit” — is due in court for a trial-setting conference March 10.

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