Former Bank Employee Pleads Guilty to Armed Bank Robbery
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 17, 2013|
LAREDO, TX—Ansel Cruz, 30, a life-long resident of Laredo, has entered a guilty plea to one count of armed bank robbery of the Laredo Federal Credit Union where he was formerly employed, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Cruz admitted to robbing the bank on Corpus Christi Street on January 6, 2012, forcing former co-workers at gunpoint to enter the bank’s vault.
On that date, employees were working after hours. Cruz, wearing black clothing and black face covering, forced employees to give him access through a rear door into the building, where he gained entry into the credit union’s vault. As one employee exited the rear door, Cruz approached him, tied him up and left him outside the building’s rear entry. Another employee, not realizing the first employee had been restrained, also exited and was forced to let him into the bank. Cruz threatened to shoot both employees with a pistol if they did not cooperate.
After entering the bank, Cruz similarly restrained and threatened two custodians, took their car keys, and locked them in a closet. Cruz took the money, exited through the same back door and drove off in the custodians’ vehicle, which was later found abandoned a few blocks away from the bank, close to Cruz’s residence.
Other employees reviewing the surveillance recordings a few days later immediately identified Cruz as the perpetrator, recognizing him as being a former employee who had worked with the credit union through 2011. After securing a search warrant for Cruz’s home, FBI agents and officers with the Laredo Police Department (LPD) retrieved the money from various locations, including his home, the stolen vehicle, and other persons to whom he gave money. Agents and officers also secured additional items of physical evidence linking Cruz to the robbery, including a bag containing black clothing and gloves, rolls of tape, a pistol slide, and ammunition magazine, as well as several money bands used by the credit union. Relatives and friends of Cruz informed federal agents and investigators that Cruz admitted having committing the robbery.
The FBI Laboratory was able to confirm Cruz’s fingerprints on the bank bands found with the money in his home, as well as linking fibers on his clothing to the fibers found on the tape used to bind the employees. Blood found on the clothing was also matched to Cruz.
Cruz has been in federal custody since his arrest on January 11, 2012, where he will remain pending his sentencing hearing to be set at a later date. At that time, he faces up to 25 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
The matter was investigated by the FBI and LPD. Assistant United States Attorney Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.