On September 27, 1984, an Iranian national named Kourosh Sadeghi wearing military fatigues, ski goggles, and jeans walked into a San Diego area bank brandishing a pistol. He made off with $21,000. In November of that year, Sadeghi was arrested for the crime. The chain of events is unclear, but the bank robber was given parole for his crime and dropped off the radar.
For 38 years Sadeghi was a fugitive from justice until last Sunday, September 24, 2023, when a beat cop in Ukiah noticed a motorcyclist failing to maintain lanes. A run-of-the-mill traffic stop in Mendocino County proved to be Sadeghi’s undoing after living nearly four decades of life on the lam.
According to a press release from the Ukiah Police Department, Sadeghi was on the back of a white BMX X3 motorcycle driving eastbound on East Perkins Street. An officer observed him failing to maintain lanes and initiated a traffic stop.
When asked to present identification, Sadeghi handed over a 19-year-expired ID with the name “Ahmad Hojjati”. A records check for Hojjati found he was “clear of wants and warrants.”
The officer conducted an evaluation for driving under the influence and went on to arrest the motorcyclist for DUI of alcohol. He was transported to the Mendocino County Jail.
Standard booking procedures into the county jail include a fingerprint scan which proved to be the end of Sadeghi’s 38–year run.
The jail’s fingerprint scan identified “Ahmad Hojjati” as Kourosh Sadeghi. Jailhouse staff realized that the man in custody was on “federal parole for bank robbery and had an active US Marshall warrant. Sadeghi had been evading federal law enforcement for more than 30 years.”
Now, on top of misdemeanor DUI charges, Kourosh faces charges of felony false identification to a police officer and will likely face further punishments due to the United States Marshall warrant.
Kourosh’s exploits from 1984 were documented in two articles in the Los Angeles Times. On Friday, September 28, 1984, an article entitled “Robber Flees With $20,000”. The robber targeted the Via de la Valle branch of Great American Federal Savings Bank located in Del Mar, California.
The robbery took place shortly before the bank actually opened when two tellers “servicing the bank’s 24-hour teller machine were confronted by [what they then described as] a Latino man in his 20s, about 5 feet, 4 inches tall.” Brandishing a firearm, the robber sporting military surplus made off with what was described as a “large sum of money”.
He then exited, drove away from the bank in one vehicle, abandoned it at a nearby construction site, and was seen leaving that area in a brown Toyota Supra.
On November 20, 1984, an article entitled “Bank Robbery Suspect Held” announced a suspect was in custody. 23-year-old Iranian national Kourosh Sadeghi was arrested by FBI agents at his home in El Cajon, California. He was taken into custody to face a federal magistrate.
The details of the subsequent judicial proceedings, incarceration, and parole are unclear. But, now, after 38 years, he is behind bars again.