Jose Padilla-Galarza, Accused of Bank Robbery and Weapons Violation, Turns Himself In
Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) San Juan Division announced the arrest of Jose Padilla-Galarza. On January 8, 2015, the FBI charged Jose Padilla-Galarza with bank robbery and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence for his participation during the bank robbery that took place on November 29, 2014, at the Banco Popular located in Rexville, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. This morning, Padilla-Galarza turned himself in to the FBI at the Federal Office Building located in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.
On November 29, 2014, at approximately 10:30 a.m., three armed individuals wearing construction safety helmets, glasses, and construction safety vests entered the Banco Popular located in Rexville Plaza in Bayamon and robbed the bank. During a canvas of the area, agents learned that the bank robbers were observed departing from the bank in a small green sedan. Additionally, the bank surveillance video showed each of the three individuals brandishing firearms.
Police of Puerto Rico (POPR) officers were notified of the robbery and advised to be on the lookout for the subjects and/or a green sedan in the area. During an area canvas, a POPR sergeant located a 1994 Toyota Tercel bearing Puerto Rico license plate DXA601 parked on Calle 50 near the Bank. The POPR sergeant observed through the window of the vehicle several bills of U.S. currency on the seats and floor. The currency appeared to be covered in a reddish dye.
FBI agents later responded to the area and continued the canvas. During such, agents located a gray trash bag in a trash barrel containing construction clothing consistent with that described by the victims of the bank robbery. Agents seized the vehicle and transported it to the FBI office for processing. During the processing of the vehicle, agents recovered a receipt from Party City located in the rear of the vehicle. Agents went to Party City and obtained the video surveillance footage at the time listed on the receipt. Agents were able to observe three unknown male subjects purchasing disguises that match the description provided by the victims of the bank robbery.
At the time of the bank robbery, POPR officers were participating in the unrelated arrest of a subject (hereinafter referred to as Wl). Wl was in the back seat of the arresting officers’ patrol car and heard the radio traffic over the police radio regarding the bank robbery that just occurred at the Banco Popular in Rexville Plaza. Wl advised officers that he/she was supposed to be involved in that bank robbery and that he knew the individuals that were involved. Wl stated that they were wearing construction clothing during the bank robbery. Wl stated that he/she was solicited approximately one week prior to participate in the bank robbery.
Wl stated that he/she met with Hernandez-Roman, who introduced him/her to a male whom he knew as “Joey” and whom FBI agents later identified as Jose Padilla-Galarza. According to Wl, Padilla-Galarza (aka “Joey”) was the leader of the bank robbery crew. Padilla-Galarza asked Wl if he/she would give him $2,000 to purchase three vehicles, and, in return, Padilla-Galarza would give Wl $15,000. Padilla-Galarza also stated that he would give Wl an AR-15 rifle and an MP-5 as collateral.
Agents located the Facebook account of Hernandez-Roman and showed Wl the photo of Hernandez-Roman. Wl identified the photo of Hernandez-Roman as the same Hernandez-Roman that was involved with the above mentioned bank robbery and as the individual that introduced him/her to Padilla-Galarza. Officers compared the Facebook photo of Hernandez-Roman and the Puerto Rico driver’s license photo of Padilla-Galarza to the Party City surveillance video, and determined that the subjects were one in the same.
On December 30, 2014, agents met with Wl and showed him/her the surveillance footage from the Party City mentioned above. Wl identified Hernandez-Roman and the individual whom he knew as Joey from the footage. Wl explained that Joey had attempted to recruit Wl to participate in the bank robbery.
On December 30, 2014, agents met with Hernandez-Roman and showed him surveillance footage from the Party City mentioned above. Hernandez-Roman identified himself and Joey in the footage. Hernandez-Roman identified Padilla-Galarza’s Puerto Rico driver’s license photograph as that of “Joey” and confirmed that “Joey” appeared in the Party City video with him.
Hernandez-Roman stated that Padilla-Galarza solicited him to participate in the above mentioned bank robbery. Padilla-Galarza wanted $2,500 from Hernandez-Roman to purchase vehicles, guns, and ammunition to use during the bank robbery and in exchange would provide $20,000 from the bank robbery proceeds. Hernandez-Roman did not provide the money to Padilla-Galarza but introduced Wl to him as a potential participant in the bank robbery.
On November 25, 2014, Hernandez-Roman stated that himself, Padilla-Galarza, and another individual went to two Party City locations and the Home Depot located near Plaza del Sol to purchase articles to be utilized during the above referenced bank robbery. Agents reviewed surveillance footage from Home Depot that showed Hernandez-Roman, Padilla-Galarza, and another individual purchasing black gloves at approximately 7:00 p.m. Hernandez-Roman identified the gloves in the robbery video of the Rexville Plaza Banco Popular robbery as the same purchased from Home Depot.
On November 29, 2014, Hernandez-Roman was contacted by Padilla-Galarza, aka “Joey,” and directed to meet up with a male individual, who was in possession of a backpack containing a shotgun that was utilized in the above referenced bank robbery. According to Hernandez-Roman, this individual picked him up so that he could provide directions to Padilla-Galarza’s residence and deliver the backpack to Padilla-Galarza.
Hernandez-Roman stated that this male individual drove him to Padilla-Galarza’s residence, where Padilla-Galarza met them outside the residence and took possession of the backpack containing the shotgun. Hernandez-Roman described the shotgun as black in color with a wooden stock and fore grip. The backpack also contained approximately five to six shotgun shells.
If convicted, the defendant faces up to a maximum of 27 years in prison. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Max Perez and is being investigated by the FBI and the Police of Puerto Rico Bank Robbery Unit.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.