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Suspects arrested in connection with 4 bank robberies over 2 days

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Posted at 4:43 PM, Feb 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-02 18:43:33-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A coordinated effort by the Unified Police Department and the West Valley City Police Department culminated in the arrest of several suspects tied to four bank robberies in the course of two days.

Lt. Justin Hoyal with the Unified Police Department said officers responded to a bank robbery at the U.S. Bank, located at 4135 South Redwood Road, Saturday afternoon a little after 1:00 p.m.

The suspect, a Polynesian man in his 20s, allegedly handed the teller a note and demanded cash. Hoyal said the clerk complied and the man fled in a green Pontiac Grand Am.

A witness to the alleged robbery followed the car to a home at 1618 West Shelly Ave. in West Valley City. Hoyal said there were already detectives in that area searching for a suspect in an earlier bank robbery, and they now believe the two suspects are one and the same.

“This suspect was a possible suspect in a bank robbery we had earlier in the day yesterday [Friday] at Zion’s Bank in Magna,” he said.

Hoyal said Unified Police Department detectives joined with West Valley City Police and were able to contain the suspects at the home and make arrests without incident.

“We were able to call the occupants out of the house,” Hoyal said. “Three males and one female were taken into custody here and are now being taken to the police station for interviews.”

Hoyal said the robbery at the U.S. Bank on Saturday involved the man who entered the bank as well as a getaway driver. They are still determining if and how those arrested at the home were involved in this and other alleged robberies.

Sgt. Jason Hauer of the West Valley City Police Department said this same suspect may have been involved in two robberies within their jurisdiction. One took place Friday around 10 a.m. at the First Utah Bank, located at 4900 West 3500 South. The second happened on Saturday morning at the America First Credit Union, located at 4976 West 3500 South.

Hauer said both robberies involved a male Polynesian suspect, and they believe the same man is responsible for all four robberies.

“It appears that he’s been very busy in the last day or two,” Hauer said.

Hoyal said that while no weapons have been seen during the incidents in his jurisdiction, threats of violence have been part of these serial robberies.

“He has threatened violence in these robberies” Hoyal said. “Just yesterday [Friday] at Zion’s Bank he threatened to shoot people inside the bank if they didn’t comply.”

Hoyal said teamwork among witnesses and the two police departments led to a happy outcome in this case

“It’s very fortunate, the way that this ended here,” He said. “Nobody was hurt, four people are in custody being questioned right now, and a combination of good witness information, good witness and good police work by everybody involved.”