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Band-Aid Bandit found suitable for parole
Andrew Jason Gonzalez
Andrew Jason Gonzalez

Never has a Band-Aid been so ominous as the one Andrew Jason Gonzalez would stick on his left cheek, moments before he would stroll into a business, point a gun at a clerk and demand cash.

It was 2008 and locally it was the season of the Band-Aid Bandit, as Gonzalez went on a spree of armed robberies, racking up 27 in Stanislaus and neighboring counties.

Now, the State Board of Parole has ruled Gonzalez suitable for parole.

And the Band-Aid? Well, that was to cover up a distinguishable mole on his face.

Gonzalez started his spree in June 2008, targeting stores and check cashing businesses primarily in Turlock, with others in Ceres, Modesto, Manteca, Lathrop, Tracy and Livermore.

In almost every robbery Gonzalez would approach the register and ask for change for a $1 or $5 bill. Once the register was opened, he would pull out a gun and take the cash.

“His actions terrified the employees of these establishments and the business community as a whole,” said the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office in a news release.

Gonzalez was arrested by the Turlock Police Department on Oct. 30, 2008, in Merced County after a five-hour standoff with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department Special Weapons and Tactical team, and a six-block foot chase that ended with his capture.

With television cameras rolling, Gonzalez handcuffed and being put into a patrol car, gleefully exclaimed, “the Band-Aid Bandit has finally been caught.”

A search of Gonzalez’s Chevrolet Cavalier turned up several pieces of evidence linking Gonzalez to the robberies, including a white baseball cap seen in surveillance videos, the black plastic bags used to put the money in, and Band-Aids.

On Sept. 3, 2010, Gonzalez pled no contest to eight counts of robbery and admitted personally using a firearm in each crime. Judge Timothy Salter sentenced Gonzalez to serve 28 years in state prison.

Gonzalez has accumulated a multitude of violations while incarcerated for refusing to work, disobeying orders, and testing positive for controlled substances. In 2017, Gonzales and another inmate attacked a fellow inmate and gang member, stabbing the victim multiple times.

At the parole hearing, Gonzalez accepted responsibility for his crimes, expressed remorse for what he did and discussed the extensive programming he has engaged in over the last 14 years to address his criminal behavior, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Deputy District Attorney Holly MacKinnon argued to the Board of Parole Hearings that Gonzalez should not be released, that he needed further substance abuse and gang prevention programming and had inadequate parole plans. MacKinnon noted that a recent psychological evaluation of Gonzalez gave the opinion that he continued to pose a more than moderate risk of committing future violent acts if released.

“The psychologist found it concerning that Gonzalez exhibited such a callous disregard for life in committing his life crimes as well as in the violent rules violations he incurred while in prison,” the district attorney’s office stated.

In weighing their decision, the parole board found Gonzalez to be truthful in discussing his chaotic childhood and drug abuse. They were also were impressed that following the attack on the other inmate, Gonzalez had not violated prison rules, dropped out of his prison gang, and stayed sober.

Gonzalez was 23 years old at the time he terrorized the community by committing numerous robberies, making him eligible for Youthful Offender Parole.

This was Gonzalez’s first parole consideration hearing. The Board’s decision now advances to the Decision Review Unit which has 120 days to review the grant of parole. If the Decision Review Unit approves the decision, Gov. Gavin Newsom will then have 30 days to refer to the full Board sitting en banc or let the grant of parole stand.