Brothers suspected in Yuma bank robbery make initial appearance in court
The two brothers arrested in connection to robbing a Yuma bank made their initial appearances in Yuma Justice Court Friday morning.
Jesus Alaniz, 25, was informed that he had two cases pending against him and that he was being held on charges of robbery, burglary and theft for his alleged role in the bank robbery. He was also told he was facing a possible theft in the second case for allegedly stealing four firearms.
In a separate hearing, Nestor Alaniz, 21, was told that he was facing a felony charges of robbery, burglary and theft.
The Alanizs both appeared before Yuma Justice of the Peace Greg Stewart, who also explained to them that they will return to court Wednesday at 1 p.m., at which time they would be told whether criminal complaints have been filed against them, charging them with any or all of the offenses.
During the brief hearings, Stewart also set their bonds at a combined $200,000 for Jesus Alaniz and $50,000 for Nestor Alaniz.
On Thursday the Wells Fargo bank at 790 W. Catalina Drive, was robbed shortly after 10 a.m. when a robber entered the bank and demanded money from the teller. Officers responding to the scene knew the suspect had fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of money and began searching the vicinity.
A man matching a description of the suspected robber was quickly spotted by officers. As officers attempted to apprehend the man, he took off and led police on a lengthy foot pursuit, which ended in the vicinity of Kofa High School, about half a mile from the bank.
According to court records Jesus Alaniz said his brother, who did not know he was going to rob the bank, dropped him off in the vicinity of Palmcroft Elementary School and was supposed to wait there for him.
A witness, however, saw Jesus Alaniz get out of the car and walk into the bank wearing dark sunglasses, a scarf or handkerchief over his face, black gloves, and a black hooded jacket.
Once inside the bank, court records indicate that Jesus Alaniz demanded money from several tellers, eventually receiving a total of $2,834.
After the robbery Jesus Alaniz ran to the area where his brother was supposed to be waiting for him, but he had already left due to being spotted by witnesses. In court records a witness stated that when Jesus Alaniz reached the area he was looking around as if wondering where his “getaway” ride was.
Jesus Alaniz, in court records, said that his brother was supposed to give him a ride to the San Luis Port of Entry after the robbery,
It was during the investigation into the robbery that Yuma police discovered that Jesus Alaniz was wanted for another case involving the theft of weapons and other property. According to court records he admitted that on July 1 he took an AK-47 and AR-15 and two handguns from a residence along with other electronic items while the owner slept.
According to Jesus Alaniz he gave the weapons he stole to the two men who asked him the steal them, but would not identify who they were when asked by Yuma police.
There were customers inside the bank at the time of the robbery, but no one was injured. The bank was closed for several hours while investigators worked at the scene gathering evidence.
Yuma police said it is not known whether the suspect in Thursday's bank robbery is connected to the botched robbery attempt at the Mohave State Bank on Dec. 11, but it is something investigators will attempt to determine during their investigation.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.