|Suspected driver charged in bank robbery|
Nestor Alaniz, the alleged getaway driver the Wells Fargo bank robbery last week, was charged with one count of hindering prosecution. Alaniz' brother, Jesus, stated that Nestor was, "not supposed to pick me up," and was not involved.
|Suspect charged in bank robbery|
Jesus Alaniz, the man suspected of robbing a Yuma bank last week, told the court during his arraignment on Wednesday that his brother was not involved with what happened that day. Alaniz has 3 separate cases pending in 3 separate incidents.
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Brothers charged in bank robbery
The man suspected of robbing a Yuma bank last week told the court during his arraignment Wednesday in Yuma Justice Court that his brother was not involved in any way.
“I woke him up that day and just asked for a ride to a friend's house. At no point in time did he know what was going on. And he was not supposed to pick me up,” said 25-year-old Jesus Alaniz.
Justice of the Peace Pro Tem Yolanda Torok interrupted Alaniz just as he started to address the court. Torok said he had the right to remain silent and that anything he said could be used against him, but that she would listen to what he had to say if he still wanted finish what he was saying, which he did.
When he finished, Torok informed Alaniz that he had three separate cases pending against him and that charges had been filed in two of them. In the first case, he was being charged with one count of theft for a 2011 case in which he allegedly stole several firearms from a residence along with other electronic items while the owner slept.
In the next case, Alaniz was charged with one count of armed robbery. The final case involved an attempted criminal trespass per domestic violence charge in which he was ordered to attend and complete court-appointed counseling session, but never did. Torok said the court would need to review documents from the case before issuing a ruling.
“In this case, the court will continue the resolution for another date,” Torok said. “If the court finds you in contempt of court, you may be serving time in jail as a sanction for not complying with the court order.”
His brother, 21-year-old Nestor Alaniz, the alleged getaway driver, was charged only with one count of hindering prosecution. Torok ordered that both men's bond remain at the amount previously set: a combined $200,000 for Jesus Alaniz and $50,000 for Nestor Alaniz.
In addition to setting both men's next court date, preliminary hearings at 4 p.m. Jan. 7, Torok assigned their cases to the court's conflict administrator's office to assign public defenders to represent them.
On Dec. 27, the Wells Fargo bank at 790 W. Catalina Drive was robbed shortly after 10 a.m. when a man 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 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 to 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 Dec. 27 robbery, but no one was injured. The bank was closed for several hours while investigators worked at the scene gathering evidence.