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Serial Bank Robbery Suspect Federally Charged

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Male bandit looking at money bag. | Image from Shutterstock

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An Albuquerque man has been charged with bank robbery in Texas and is suspected of additional bank robberies in Arizona, New Mexico, Mississippi, and California, according to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham. 

On Wednesday, Fernando Enriquez, 35, was charged with one count of bank robbery in a criminal complaint. According to the U.S. State Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, Enriquez made his initial appearance Thursday, March 31, before U.S. Magistrate Judge John R. Parker. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Phoenix and Dallas Field Offices are conducting the investigation, cooperating with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Abilene Police Department, and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Tusing of the Northern District of Texas, with significant assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

According to the criminal complaint, Enriquez allegedly entered a Chase Bank in Abilene, Texas, on Tuesday, displayed a handgun, demanded money from the teller, and then fled the scene. 

The teller, who had sounded her silent alarm throughout the heist, later characterized the suspect as a heavy-set Hispanic man dressed in a face mask, grey hoodie, pants, and a baseball cap. 

A witness inside the bank at the time of the crime used his phone to shoot a video of the suspect fleeing the building and entering a white Chevrolet suburban with Mississippi license plates. He promptly provided the footage to police enforcement. 

Texas DPS and Abilene Police Department police pulled over the suburban near Merkel, Texas, 45 minutes later and apprehended Enriquez and his girlfriend, Crystal Quispe. Officers discovered a pistol, a gray hoodie, a baseball cap, and a considerable amount of U.S. money inside the vehicle. 

Enriquez and Quispe were taken to the Abilene Police Department. Quispe informed FBI agents that she and Mr. Enriquez had lived in Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, and California over the previous 14 months. According to the press release, she indicated that even though Mr. Enriquez was not employed most of that time, he always appeared to have cash on hand. 

Quispe informed authorities that Enriquez had left her and his children at a motel before committing the crime, claiming he needed to fill up the car with gas. She said he quickly packed his car and drove away when he returned. According to her, Enriquez’s driving on their way out of Abilene was faster and more chaotic than usual, the documents state.

Based on physical description and modus operandi, investigators suspected Enriquez in the Abilene crime and similar robberies in Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, and California. They showed Quispe two photos from previous bank robberies that they had gotten from the FBI’s Phoenix office. According to Quispe, the suspect in the pictures was Mr. Enriquez.

A criminal complaint is only an allegation of criminal behavior, not evidence. Enriquez, like all defendants, is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. Quispe has been cleared of all criminal charges.

If convicted, Enriquez faces up to 25 years in federal prison for bank robbery. 

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