Robbery at First Bank Texas; Arrests Made (Press Release)

by Public Information Officer, Wednesday, October 03, 2012, 02:00 (2334 days ago)

ABILENE, TX – On Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 4:30 pm, the Abilene Police Department (APD) was notified by First Bank Texas on South First Street that they had been robbed by a masked man at gun point. Members of APD’s Patrol and Criminal Investigation Divisions responded to the robbery. This investigation brought together multiple divisions within the Department to assist with investigative efforts. The investigative team realized that there were very few leads to work with early-on in this investigation. Later that evening, APD reported to news media the preliminary findings that were releasable at that time, including a description of the suspect. On September 28th, APD also reached out to our community for their assistance in this investigation through help from our media partners. APD released still images of the bank robber and images of another person, a male, who had gone into the bank approximately 30 minutes prior. That decision would prove helpful in this investigation because APD began to receive Crime Stoppers tips about the male’s identity captured on video surveillance. The investigation eventually led to the identification of the male that had gone into the bank prior to the robbery. That man was identified as Frank A. Esparza Jr. (DOB: 11/29/94) of Abilene, TX.

On Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012, Mr. Esparza Jr. was located and brought to the Law Enforcement Center along with another male, a juvenile age 16. Investigators learned that the juvenile had directly aided in the commission of the robbery and had benefitted materially from proceeds of the robbery. The investigation also revealed that more than two people were involved. Mr. Esparza Jr. was found to be criminally responsible for the robbery, as was the juvenile.

Investigators turned their attention to a third suspect that they believed had fled the City of Abilene and had been directly involved in the robbery. Specifically, investigators believed that this third suspect, identified as Frank Esparza Sr. (DOB: 8/22/72), was the actual gunman that entered the bank and stole cash. APD confirms that Mr. Esparza Sr. is Mr. Esparza Jr’s father. The investigation revealed that Mr. Esparza Sr. was on parole. A parole warrant was coordinated and issued for Mr. Esparza’s arrest. With the help of the El Paso Police Department, a coordinated effort to find and arrest Mr. Esparza Sr. proved successful. At 6:30 am this morning, Mr. Esparza Sr. was located and was arrested by El Paso Police Department officers for his parole warrant.

Mr. Esparza Jr. was arrested for 1st degree felony robbery and taken to the Taylor County Jail where he remains in lieu of a $250,000.00 bond. An arrest warrant for the involved juvenile is pending. The juvenile was released to a parent. Mr. Esparza Sr’s alleged criminal involvement will be further investigated. He will be held on his parole warrant pending consult with the FBI, the US Attorney's Office in Lubbock, and the Taylor County District Attorney's Office.

This robbery investigation took a remarkable level of time and effort by multiple divisions within the Department. Those divisions, including Patrol, Criminal Investigation, Responsive Intelligence and Youth, worked continuously over the course of this investigation to help solve it. Work continues on this case and other recent robbery cases. Since this investigation is still on-going, APD will not be able to release any further information at this time.

Since 2007, the Police Department has investigated six bank robberies. APD reminds our community that you are the first line of defense against crime in your community and your help in solving these crimes is greatly appreciated.

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