FBI, Police Investigate Armed Robbery At Bank Of Guam

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Masked men spend just minutes in bank before fleeing with cash

By Cameron Miculka

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 7, 2014) – Police and the FBI are looking for two men who robbed the Bank of Guam's Yigo branch at gunpoint yesterday morning.

The men are considered armed and dangerous, said Guam Police Department spokesman Officer A.J. Balajadia, and the public shouldn't approach them. He said residents should call Guam Crime Stoppers, local police or the FBI.

A witness in the bank said the robbery took just a few minutes and no shots were fired.

Tom Blas, a 61-year-old retired resident who farms land in Yigo said he was on his way to make a produce delivery when he decided to stop in at the bank.

He said he was just finishing up his deposit when he heard a "loud rush."

Even with his poor vision, he said, "I could tell it was a robbery."

Two masked men, one of whom was wearing what looked like a Spider-Man mask, came into the bank, Blas said. One of them, a smaller man with a backpack, went to the bank's counter. The other man stood about four feet away from Blas, waving his handgun and telling everybody to get down.

That man took Blas's wallet, Blas said. "I pleaded with him in Chamorro," he said. "'Please give me back my wallet. There's no money inside it.'"

Blas said the man kept the gun pointed to his face as he yelled out "Cash! Cash!"

Meanwhile the smaller man was taking the cash from over the counter and stuffing it into a backpack.

"Everyone was calm," said Blas. "I didn't want to make any stupid move."

Within three to four minutes, the men fled, said Blas. Before leaving the bank though, the bigger man tossed Blas's wallet back to him.

"It all happened pretty fast," he added.

Police began arriving about 10 minutes after the robbers fled, Blas said.

Balajadia said police received a call about the robbery at 10:31 a.m.

Within an hour more than 20 police and federal law enforcement personnel were at the site.

At least two were armed with assault rifles.

On the front door, a "closed" sign was hanging.

Balajadia said yesterday that two men carrying handguns entered the bank yesterday morning and demanded cash.

The first suspect, described as being between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet tall, was wearing a black mask, a green shirt and black pants.

The second suspect, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall, was wearing a red ski mask and a black long-sleeved shirt.

The suspects fled toward Perez Acres with an undetermined amount of cash, Balajadia said.

He said there were no reports of injuries from the incident.

Joint investigation

The FBI is working with the Guam Police Department to solve the case.

Because banks are federally insured institutions, bank robbery is a federal crime, FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said.

That means bank robbers not only risk local charges, but also a lengthy stay in federal prison.

Previous bank robberies

This is the first bank robbery on Guam in more than a decade, according to Pacific Daily News files, which state small stores have been more frequently targeted by armed robbers.

In 2003, a masked man walked into the Bank of Hawaii branch in Dededo, brandishing a silver handgun.

He then forced two employees to go into the bank's vault, where a large amount of money was stolen, PDN files state. Files do not indicate any person ever was arrested or tried in connection with that robbery.

The Bank of Guam's Mangilao branch was robbed in April 1997, files state, and the robbers took five people hostage.

James Ninete Leon Guerrero and Dominic John Aguon were arrested and tried in federal court and found guilty of conspiring to commit armed bank robbery.

They were arrested after one suspect allegedly bragged about the crime, files state.

Employees at the Bank of Guam's Yigo branch reported an attempted robbery in Oct. 22, 1998, but the alleged robber, wearing a black mask, was thwarted because the bank had not yet opened and the front doors were locked. He reportedly shook the doors, gave up and drove away, files state.


Simon said that in Hawaii, where he's located, there are about eight to 12 bank robberies per year, a number he said is "extremely low" compared to the rest of the country.

Furthermore, he said, all of the Hawaiian bank robberies during the past two years were solved.

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