Arroyo Grande community leader robs bank

November 19, 2013
Clay Watkins

Clay Watkins

The former president of the Arroyo Grande Rotary Club allegedly robbed a Wells Fargo Bank in Santa Maria on Saturday.

Shortly after 9 a.m., Arthur McClay Watkins, wearing a ski mask and brandishing a handgun, entered the bank and demanded cash.

Watkins , 55, left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash and made it to a parking lot across the street before he was confronted by a police officer. Watkins then pointed the handgun at the officer, dropped the money and took off running.

While the officer was pursuing Watkins, Jose Mendez of Santa Maria grabbed the cash and took off. A witness provided information that led to Mendez’ arrest for grand theft and possession of stolen property.

Officers arrested Watkins on charges of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer.

Web sites maintained by Watkins have been taken down since his arrest. He is a 1982 graduate of UCLA who later earned a masters degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. Watkins is a licensed marriage and family therapist, most recently associated with the Village Counseling Center in Arroyo Grande. Married with two young children, Watkins is a past president of the Rotary Club of Arroyo Grande and has also volunteered with the YMCA.

Local radio host Dave Congalton was among the many people stunned at the news of Watkins’ arrest.

“I’ve known Clay for years through my radio show,” Congalton said. “He always came across as thoughtful and considerate. I remember when he serenaded my wife Charlotte by playing the banjo for her birthday. Not two months ago, he called into my show to offer to pay any fees associated with these visiting monks appearing at farmers’ market. That’s the Clay I know.”

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The BANJO should have been the first clue.

Ha; Ha; Ha… your’e very “funny.”