From inside his San Quentin cell, the Gap-Toothed Bandit is trying to get his hands on travel logs that the San Diego Police Department used to tie him to a string of bank robberies he committed throughout San Diego and Orange counties in 2008, seven years after he had been arrested for a previous spate of bank robberies.
Michael Craig Dickman, later dubbed the Gap-Toothed Bandit due to a large gap in his front teeth, filed a writ of mandate against the San Diego Police Department on February 18, 2016, accusing the force of withholding documents that led to his arrest in August 2008.
Dickman first made news in 1999 during a string of bank robberies in Orange and San Diego counties. At the time of the robberies, Dickman worked as a professor at National University.
As reported by San Diego Magazine in 2010, Dickman parked in a red zone outside a bank he was robbing. When police showed up at the scene, they located Dickman's car. The bank robber granted the officers’ requests to search his car. During the search they found the demand letter used in the crime.
But Dickman's days as the Gap-Toothed Bandit weren't through. After serving seven years, Dickman was released from jail in 2007. The following year he was back on the bank-robbery circuit. According to court documents, Dickman robbed the Washington Mutual Bank on Ruffin Road in July of 2008. During the robbery, wearing a wig and a fake mustache, Dickman handed a teller two bags, telling her to fill them with cash. She handed him $4344 in cash.
Less than a month later, Dickman was pulled over by police. During a subsequent search, the police found a wig, black sunglasses, and a demand letter with the exact language used during the July 2008 robbery. Dickman was arrested and sentenced to 25 years to life.
But Dickman refuses to go quietly. In June 2015 Dickman submitted a public records request to the San Diego Police Department for data from a GPS transponder placed on Dickman's car the night he robbed the Washington Mutual Bank. According to the complaint, Dickman believes the transponder was placed on his car without a search warrant.
In November, the police department rejected Dickman's request, claiming they were part of an investigation and were exempt from the Public Records Act. That same month, Dickman followed up with another request for the same items. The police department again refused. Now Dickman looks to the courts to force the police department to comply.
"Here, the San Diego Police have denied petitioner access to G.P.S. transponder tracking records that were obtained by placing a G.P.S. tracking device on petitioner's vehicle, without a search warrant, on July 21, 2008. The tracking device was removed by law enforcement on August 12, 2008. These records were collected as part of a larger investigation by the San Diego Police and the F.B.I. This investigation was concluded when the petitioner was tried and convicted on charges related to the investigation."
A judge has not yet been assigned the case. After a judge is assigned, a hearing date will be scheduled.