Breaking the Bank
Robbers strike Pacific Grove credit union three times in three years.
Thursday, April 6, 2006
At about 1:15pm on St. Patrick’s Day, a man walked into Pacific Grove’s Monterey Credit Union, handed a note to a pregnant teller indicating that he had a gun money, and robbed the place.
It was the Fountain Avenue Bank’s third robbery in three years.
During the latest stick-up on March 17, a surveillance camera captured a clear picture of the suspect on his way out the door. He is a light-skinned male in his twenties with short brown hair. At the time of the robbery, he wore a white baseball cap, mirrored glasses, gray sweat shirt, black pants and white tennis shoes.
The suspect fled on foot and disappeared. Pacific Grove Cmdr. Tom Uretsky says police are not releasing information about the amount of stolen money, but they do have some leads in the case.
“We think this new guy is probably more related to the Santa Cruz crimes,” Uretsky says. “The SCPD is involved with the investigation.”
Santa Cruz has experienced a string of four bank robberies since January, and the Santa Cruz suspect is physically similar to the Pacific Grove suspect. The Santa Cruz suspect also used a note indicating he had a gun and demanding money.
Exactly two years before the most recent Monterey Credit Union robbery, on March 17, 2004, Douglas Chase of Pacific Grove entered the credit union with a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and a backpack containing ammunition and duct tape.
He grabbed Annette Garnett, a bank supervisor who had previously fired the defendant from his job with the credit union, as she was opening the front door of the building. Two other employees, Bruce Din and John Thich, jumped on Chase, wrestled the shotgun away from him and held him down until police arrived.
In Chase’s vehicle, police found a note with plans for a bank robbery, more ammunition, gloves, rope and several knives. Chase was later sentenced to 11 years in state prison.
The second Monterey Credit Union robbery occurred on Feb. 8, 2005, when Walter Rogin handed a note to a teller and escaped on foot. He was later arrested in Salinas and is currently serving three to five years, Uretsky says.
Ross Ramsey of the Monterey Credit Union says additional security isn’t necessary.
“We think our security measure are adequate,” Ramsey says. “There really isn’t a rational reason to go beyond what we are already doing…this time we have really clear pictures of him. The police know who this person is.”
Anyone with additional information about the March 17 robbery is asked to call Uretsky or Cpl. Roxane Viray at 648-3151.