Friends, Neighbors Shocked to Learn Identity of Suspected ‘Bearded Bandit’

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The so-called “Bearded Bandit,” who was wanted in connection to at least 11 Northern California bank robberies before he surrendered to authorities Wednesday evening in Brentwood, has been identified by authorities as 30-year-old Stockton resident Kenneth Ellis.

At the Ellis home in North Stockton on Thursday, as news broke of his suspected identity, family, friends and neighbors had mixed reaction to his arrest.

“He’s a good guy,” said a man who only identified himself as Ellis’ best friend of 10 years.

When asked if he knew he was allegedly robbing banks the last two months, his response: “No idea. It’s horrible.”

While most family and friends declined comment on the situation, neighbor Stan Schrock said Ellis didn’t socialize much in the community, calling him “just a normal guy.”

Police, however, say there was nothing normal about Ellis’ behavior since February 12. That’s when his alleged bank robbing spree began. From the Bay Area down to Gilroy and as far north as Sacramento, the FBI says Ellis is responsible for at least 11 bank robberies totaling about $30,000 in cash.

Ellis’ sister, Kristina, did tell FOX40: “My brother is a great man, very family oriented, and has always been my idol. More like my hero.”

Kenneth Ellis will face federal charges for his alleged crimes at his upcoming arraignment.

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