FBI agents and Los Angeles Police Department officers arrested two bank robbery suspects on March 29 who are alleged to be part of a crew that traveled to Washington, and possibly other states, to commit hold-ups.
One of the suspects, Charles A. Williams, 40, was taken into custody in South Los Angeles after a brief police pursuit.
The second suspect, identified as Janalisa Estrada, 33, was arrested outside an apartment building at an undisclosed location in Hollywood.
Investigators had both suspects under surveillance in connection with four bank robberies in Seattle and Tacoma, between last September and December. Police arrested five other suspects for the robberies on Dec. 22 as they attempted to board a Greyhound bus in Olympia, Wash., for a return trip to Los Angeles.
They were identified as Kevin Brown, 38; Curtis Smith, 22; Douglas Smith, 22; Jeanine Daniels, 32, and Anthony Mosley, 46. All of the suspects are from Los Angeles, except for Mosley, who resides in Tacoma.
Some members of the group were carrying large amounts of cash as they attempted to board the bus. Investigators later learned that Williams and Estrada were also allegedly involved in the robberies, leading to their arrests last week.
According to a federal criminal complaint, the suspects are all reputed members of the Four-Tre street gang that is based in South Los Angeles. The gang’s members are known for committing bank robberies, and Mosley, Brown and Daniels have previous convictions for bank hold-ups in California and other states.
The gang members follow a particular method of operation, according to the FBI, which involves traveling by bus to other states, stealing a vehicle and then robbing a bank branch before returning to Los Angeles by bus.
The suspects generally covered their heads and faces with masks or loose clothing, and usually operated in teams of three or more. One suspect generally acted as a lookout, while the others jumped over counters and stole cash from tellers and vaults.
“Of the seven that were charged, six were from Los Angeles,” said Ayn S. Dietrich, an FBI spokeswoman based in Seattle. “Our assumption is they would come here and commit the robberies, and then go back to L.A.”
The criminal complaint alleges that Mosley lived in Tacoma at a residence that was used as a staging location for the robberies.
Investigators served a search warrant at the residence and found more than $1,000 in cash and a pillowcase believed to have been used in the hold-ups.
All seven suspects face one to four counts of bank robbery. FBI agents are working with authorities in Ohio and Michigan to determine if robberies that occurred in those states around the same time can be linked to the suspects. The method of operation was similar to that used by the Four-Tre gang members in other robberies.
“We are still investigating,” Dietrich said. “We are looking at a possible connection to ten in Michigan and one in Ohio. It’s a unique operating style.”
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