A Navy Federal branch in Mira Mesa that was a target in a series of heists. Photo credit: Google Earth.

A judge on Friday ordered a former postdoctoral neuroscience researcher at UC San Diego to stand trial in connection with a series of local heists.

Karl W. Doron, 43, who holds a doctorate in psychological and brain sciences, is charged in a string of credit union robberies.

The incidents took place from December to March in various parts of San Diego, as well as Chula Vista. Doron faces nearly a dozen robbery and attempted robbery charges.

Police arrested him March 5 leaving the Navy Federal Credit Union at 6755 Mira Mesa Blvd. He allegedly demanded cash from credit union employees.

At the time, he carried a loaded handgun and just over $5,000 in cash, according to police and prosecutors.

At Doron’s two-day preliminary hearing, detectives Mark Haas and Dewayne Glazewski testified that investigators tracked Doron through his car. A bank teller photographed the vehicle following an attempted robbery.

Surveillance footage from another incident captured the car’s license plate, which was registered to Doron.

In most of the robberies, Doron is not accused of being armed or using force, but rather securing cash through verbal demands or notes. He made off with anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000 per robbery, and between $10,000 and $15,000 total, Deputy District Attorney Andy Aguilar said.

Following his arrest, investigators searched Doron’s home in Clairemont and found clothes matching apparel the suspect was seen wearing in surveillance footage. Investigators also found a calculator, which the suspect allegedly held up to his ear as though it were a cellphone during some of the robberies.

Doron’s attorneys alleged there was nothing strange about a data scientist owning such an item. They also noted that money the suspect is accused of taking, as well as other items of clothing items seen in surveillance footage, were not found in searches of his home or car.

Doron’s LinkedIn page indicates he graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 and previously served as an infantry leader in the Marine Corps. His last entry lists work as a postdoctoral scholar at UCSD, which ended in January 2015. It involved conducting “realtime brain-machine interface experiments using electroencephalography.”

Doron is being held at San Diego Central Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bail. He is due back in court July 16 for a Superior Court arraignment.

– City News Service

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