Suspect in Yuma bank robbery apprehended in California
The man suspected of robbing the Wells Fargo Bank inside the Fry’s Grocery Store in Yuma two months ago has been arrested in California, where he is accused of robbing another bank in a similar manner.
Austin Taylor Farmer, 24, of Bonita, Calif., was taken into custody on Oct. 24 at his residence by FBI agents, according to Laura Eimiler, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles FBI Field Office.
“He is believed to be the same person,” Eimiler said.
Farmer, who is being held without bail, was charged last month in United States District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., with one count of bank robbery for allegedly robbing a US Bank branch located within a Ralph’s grocery store in Aliso Viejo, which is in the San Diego area, on Sept. 1.
During the course of its investigation, the FBI was able to identify Farmer as the suspect by comparing footage from both of the bank’s surveillance systems. He was also identified through a photo lineup.
Also, cameras at the U.S. Border Patrol immigration checkpoint on Interstate 8 captured footage of a Chrysler 300 passing through, heading west a short time after the robbery. The same type of vehicle was caught on surveillance cameras outside the grocery store in California where the US Bank was robbed.
According to Yuma police, the Wells Fargo Bank inside the Fry’s Grocery Store at 500 W. 24th St. was robbed shortly after 3 p.m. on Sept. 8.
The initial investigation revealed that a male suspect, now believed to be Farmer, walked up to the counter and handed the teller a note demanding money. It is unknown if he was armed.
The teller handed the suspect an undisclosed amount of money, and he fled the store heading westbound.
According to the complaint filed against him, Farmer is accused of handing the teller at the Wells Fargo in California a note written on the back of an envelope. The wording in effect said this is not a game, this isn’t a joke, give me the $100s and $50s from the bottom drawer.
When the teller tried to put the money from her drawer in a different envelope the suspect instructed her to place the money in the envelope he had given her.
The teller also stated, according to the complaint, the suspect kept one hand out of sight so she was afraid he had a gun. No weapon was used, however. The robber took more than $9,000.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; the Yuma Police Department; the San Diego Sheriff’s Department; the San Diego Police Department; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection; and the FBI Field Offices in Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles.