Noah Blue, Skyline athlete, May 2010. (Laura A. Oda/Staff)
Noah Blue, Skyline athlete, May 2010. (Laura A. Oda/Staff)

OAKLAND -- A former Skyline High School track star has been charged with robbing a Montclair district bank three times as well as a Fruitvale district bank, authorities said Monday.

A fourth attempt at the Montclair branch was foiled, police said.

Noah Blue, 21, of Oakland, is charged with five counts of second-degree robbery, one count of attempted second-degree robbery and one count of attempted burglary. He was being held at Santa Rita Jail in lieu of $350,000 bail.

Police said five of the counts stem from three robberies and a foiled attempt at the Bank of the West, 2023 Mountain Blvd., in Montclair. One of the robbery counts and the attempted robbery count are for a holdup Wednesday at the Chase Bank, 3310 International Blvd. The suspect wore a mask in each robbery, including a full-face "storm trooper" style in some of them.

Officer Nick Calonge said Blue has denied involvement in the robberies.

Calonge said police believe the robberies were carried out so that Blue, who is unemployed, could get money for personal needs, including caring for his young child.

The Bank of the West robberies happened on July 26, Aug. 1 and Aug. 26. In the last robbery, two tellers were robbed after police said Blue, holding a wooden baton in his hand, jumped a counter and looted two cash drawers.

Police believe Blue returned to the bank about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday to try to rob it a fourth time. But alert employees saw him and locked the door, preventing him from getting inside.

Police said he then went to the Chase bank about 1:30 p.m., robbed one teller and attempted to rob another before fleeing on foot. He was captured nearby, and a backpack containing some of the money, a baton and the Storm trooper mask was recovered.

Blue graduated in 2010 from Skyline High School, where he was a champion hurdler on the track team. In June 2010, he won the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter hurdles at the Oakland Section Championships. He was to participate in the state championships but was unable to do so because of a leg injury.

In May 2010, he was named an East Bay Prep Athlete of the Year by the Bay Area News Group. He was also named a BANG Athlete of the Week in April 2010 after winning the 110-meter hurdles at the Stanford Invitational in a time of 13.86, one of the top five times in the country.