Teen accused as accessory in California bank heist

AP News
|
Posted: Sep 15, 2014 6:11 PM

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of moving what had been an intended getaway car two days after a deadly Northern California bank robbery, police said Monday.

The teen was taken into custody on Thursday and booked on suspicion of being an accessory after he tried to cover up or move evidence, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said at a news conference.

The teen, whose name was not released because of his age, was in the same gang as the three suspects who robbed a Bank of the West branch in Stockton on July 16, according to Jones. The robbers took three hostages and carjacked one of their vehicles instead of using the car that was later moved.

Two of the suspected robbers and a hostage, 41-year-old customer Misty Holt-Singh, were killed during an exchange of gunfire with police after the robbery. Police have said a preliminary report shows Holt-Singh was killed by police.

Jones said police are seeking to question Pablo Ruvalcaba, 21, who may have dropped the suspects off at the bank. He described Ruvalcaba as a person of interest, not a suspect.

In addition, officials with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said at Thursday's news conference that the agency was offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who supplied the robbers with an AK-47.

Investigators have been unable to trace the weapon, which does not have a serial number and appears to have been made by an unlicensed manufacturer.

Authorities say the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Jaime Ramos, used Holt-Sing as a human shield. He has been charged with three counts of murder and 22 counts of attempted murder.

Ramos, who appeared in court Monday, has yet to enter a plea, said Deputy Public Defender Jonathan Fattarsi, who declined to comment further on the case.

Holt-Singh, whose 12-year-old daughter was waiting in a car, was taken hostage along with two bank employees. Officers gave chase when the robbers, armed with three handguns and an AK-47, fled with the women in an SUV owned by one of the employees.

The two employees survived by either jumping or getting thrown from the SUV as it sped through town.

Jones has defended officers' decision to fire at the SUV while Holt-Singh was inside, saying they were under constant fire and were concerned the suspects would kidnap other hostages or take over businesses or even a school.