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Tuba City Bank Robbery Suspect on the Lam

Tuba City Bank Robbery Suspect on the Lam
May 19
14:18 2015

MoneyA male suspect is still on the loose after robbing the Wells Fargo Bank in Tuba City Monday.

Navajo Police Officer Roland Dash reported the bank robbery to Navajo Police headquarters in Window Rock. The Tuba City Wells Fargo Bank reported the robbery at 1:42 p.m., according to Dash.

Officer Patrick Hall responded to the scene and confirmed the robbery. Hall then asked for backup, including criminal investigators, and the FBI.

Video cameras in the bank captured the suspect’s image; he is a Native American male, 5’11” to 6-feet tall, heavy set with long shoulder length hair. The suspected bandit was wearing a blue colored straw hat, dark sunglasses, blue jeans and a blue windbreaker.

The disguise is a classic example of “good” bank robbery. The modus operandi of well-schooled criminals often calls for wearing some elaborate attire – knowing the witnesses will focus on a crazy costume rather than the actual appearance of the suspect.

For example, a robber held up the Fu King Smoke Shop in Gallup, N.M. a few years ago wearing a clown wig. The thief made good his escape as police were left to look for a Fu King clown – no doubt on the lookout for anyone wearing a bright, pink wig, bulbous red nose and oversized shoes. That suspect was probably considered dangerous because in a pinch he could always squirt the police with water from the fake flower in his breast pocket.

“When there’s a robbery that occurs on the Navajo Nation, our number one concern is public safety,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said. “We must protect innocent bystanders and ensure they call law enforcement and let them handle the situation.”

Begaye encouraged anyone who sees the suspect to call the police department and report the location.

“The police are trained and know how to handle dangerous criminals. You can assist the law enforcement by being aware of your surroundings and by reporting any crimes,” Begaye added.

Criminal investigators from the Navajo Police remained on the scene Monday afternoon to conduct the investigation. The bank was shut down as the investigation took place. Local offices, such as the NTUA’s Tuba City district office, also went on lockdown to protect the public and employees.

“The suspect didn’t show a weapon, he just passed a note to the teller,” Dash said. “He received the money and walked out of the bank.”

So is it really a robbery?

Earlier this month Virginia Beach bank robbery suspect Dominyk Antonio Alfonseca denied he committed a crime because he said he politely asked the bank teller for money. Not only did his robbery note use the word “please,” but it ended with a smiley face, Alfonseca explained.

No word yet on if the Tuba City suspect asked politely.

“We condemn this act of violence on our nation and give our full support to law enforcement (that) will bring this man to justice,” said Vice President Jonathan Nez.

Wells Fargo, founded in 1851, is no stranger to robberies. During the rip-roaring days of the Old West, stagecoaches carrying a Wells Fargo box were often the targets of desperadoes.

Perhaps the company’s most successful adversary was Charles Bolton – better known as Black Bart.

Bart was considered a “gentleman bandit,” as he never shot anyone during commission of a crime. He had a reputation for style and sophistication.

Between 1875 and 1883 Bart held up 28 Wells Fargo coaches, making off with thousands of dollars. He wore a long, linen duster, a bowler hat, a flour sack mask with eyeholes cut out and carried a shotgun – which he never fired.

Bart’s last robbery went awry as he was interrupted while committing it and wounded during his getaway. Wells Fargo Detective James Hume raced to the scene and discovered items the bandit had hurriedly discarded – including a handkerchief with the laundry mark FX07 on it. Detectives traced the mark to a San Francisco laundry and, from there, to Charles Bolton.

Bolton spent six years in prison.

If Bart’s aversion to horses, polite language and gentlemanly demeanor were not enough to make him a legendary bandido, his penchant for leaving poems behind at the scene of the crime would have. His most famous was:


I’ve labored long and hard for bread,
For honor, and for riches,
But on my corns too long you’ve tread,
You fine-haired sons of bitches


The FBI Flagstaff Regional Office has jurisdiction in the Tuba City case. All media inquiries are to be directed to the FBI Flagstaff office.

“Please remember to look out for each other. Take care of each other. We’re a nation based on Hozho’ and Ke’,” said Begaye.

If the public has any information on the case, they are encouraged to call Navajo Police at 928-283-3111 or the FBI Flagstaff Regional Office at 928-774-0631.


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