Man With Flamethrower Robs Salinas Bank
December 28, 2012
Salinas police officers arrested a man who allegedly robbed Bank of America at Northridge Mall with a homemade flamethrower on Thursday afternoon.
According to Salinas Police Commander Sheldon Bryan, William Jones, 49, walked into the bank just after 2:30pm with a homemade flamethrower consisting of a pressurized bottle filled with a flammable liquid and propane torch. Patrons ran out of the building as he sprayed the device three or four times. Witnesses told police say flames were many feet in length.
“At one point, he sprayed fire against the plexiglass bank teller’s window,” says Bryan.
Jones left the bank after being chased by a few patrons and ran to his blue Ford Ranger truck. He drove east on Boronda Road; police caught up with him a few blocks away after a short high-speed chase.
Jones left the truck near Virginia Roca Barton School and ran into a nearby drainage ditch, where four officers used tasers to subdue him.
According to Bryan, Jones may be responsible for at least five other recent armed robberies in Salinas in December, three of which involved a flamethrower device similar to the one used at Bank of America.
Jones was booked into Monterey County Jail. There was no immediate word on his arraignment.