Norco 80

LAist Studios

In May of 1980, the sleepy streets of Norco, California were turned into an all-out war zone in what is one of the most violent bank robberies in American history. From LAist Studios in collaboration with Futuro Studios comes the new podcast—Norco ’80 based on the book by Peter Houlahan. Listen as host and producer Antonia Cereijido tells the unbelievable true story about God, guns, survivalism and the bank robbery that changed policing in America forever. Using eyewitness testimony and never before heard police tapes, Norco ’80 takes listeners on a wild ride, and serves as a cautionary tale in the context of America being immersed in the middle of an economic crisis, revamped end of the world paranoia and a complex conversation about policing.

Trailer: Norco 80
Trailer 3 min 3 sec

All Episodes

In 1980, a devastating bank robbery shocked Southern California. It was carried out by masked men determined to outlive the apocalypse. But the robbery would quickly spin out of control, providing a cautionary tale of an America in the midst of an economic recession and serve as a complex conversation about the role of police forces in our communities. This is the story of Norco ‘80, a new podcast from LAist Studios.

Nov 2020

3 min 3 sec

May 9th, 1980 began as a regular Friday in sleepy Norco, a small town about 48 miles east of Los Angeles, known mostly for its horse trails and old-western look. But around 3:30pm, five masked men with assault rifles robbed the Security Pacific Bank downtown. Norco ‘80 is produced by LAist Studios in collaboration with Futuro Studios. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Jan 11

22 min 26 sec

The bank robbers make it out of the Security Pacific Bank, cash in hand––but they’re immediately met by the police and a firefight begins.  Norco ‘80 is produced by LAist Studios in collaboration with Futuro Studios. *Editor’s note: For clarification, Deputy Sheriff Andrew Delgado-Monti carried both a revolver and a shotgun during the firefight outside the Security Pacific Bank, which was standard for the Riverside Sheriff’s Office at the time. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Jan 11

34 min 5 sec

George Smith didn't set out to rob a bank. He just wanted to survive the apocalypse. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Jan 18

40 min 18 sec

The robbers lead police on a winding chase that ends in a devastating standoff at the top of a mountain. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Jan 25

42 min 45 sec

After the chase finally ends, a shell-shocked police force demands bigger, more powerful weapons. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Feb 1

43 min

The “Norco 3” face the death penalty in one of the highest profile trials in Riverside County history. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Feb 8

43 min 44 sec

George Smith speaks to us in his first-ever recorded interview, from a correctional facility in Corcoran, California. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Feb 15

41 min 20 sec

The Norco Bank Robbery happened over 40 years ago, but its legend continues influence how police officers are trained today. Thanks to one very popular VHS tape. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Feb 22

32 min 26 sec

Dr. Casey Kelly discusses survivalism's enduring allure, from pioneer days to prepper conventions. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Mar 1

24 min 17 sec

In 2016, Rosa Brooks, a full-time law professor at Georgetown University, became a reserve police officer. Rosa had previously studied and written about the role of violence in society, but always from a perspective outside of law enforcement. Now, she's written a book about her years of service and the insight she gained about identity, militarization, and what police actually think.  This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Mar 8

22 min 25 sec

LAist Studios Executive Producer and Norco 80 podcast host Antonia Cereijido takes an in-depth look at survivalism and preppers, past and present with special guests Paige Ferrari of National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers and Bradley Garrett, author of Bunker: Building for the End Times. This audio is from a live virtual event that aired on May 13, 2021, presented by LAist Studios and KPCC. BetterHelp and Norco ‘80 listeners get 10% off their first month at BetterHelp.com/laist This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Jun 28

50 min 36 sec

Hear from Pulitzer Prize winning host Chris Haxel of the No Compromise podcast, Michael Sierra-Arévalo of the University of Texas, and LAist Studios Executive Producer and Norco 80 host Antonia Cereijido discuss the pervasiveness of gun culture and the militarization of the police force.  This audio is from a live virtual event that aired on May 20, 2021, presented by LAist Studios and KPCC. BetterHelp and Norco ‘80 listeners get 10% off their first month at BetterHelp.com/laist This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Jun 28

52 min 56 sec