Police: Explosive vest worn by bank robbery suspect was a ‘hoax device’

Posted at 11:47 AM, Jan 22, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY -- A man accused of robbing a Salt Lake City bank Thursday morning has been taken into custody following an investigation by the Salt Lake City Police Department's bomb squad.

Police said the suspect, identified as Joshua Silva, entered a Zions Bank branch at 910 W 2100 S and demanded money before fleeing on foot.

Joshua Silva. Image courtesy Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Joshua Silva. Image courtesy Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Bank robbery detectives caught the man near 1000 W 1900 S and put him in handcuffs, but backed off when they saw he was wearing a vest with wires exposed.

Police evacuated the area as SLCPD's Hazardous Devices Unit used a robot to investigate the suspect for any explosive devices.

"They'll communicate with him back and forth through that robot and then they'll use the, for lack of a better name, the hands from that to then maybe pull that vest off to inspect it to see exactly what it is before we send a person in there to deal with it," said Sgt. Robin Heiden, SLCPD.

The vest was removed from the suspect shortly after 1 p.m. and the suspect was taken into custody without incident. Salt Lake City police later confirmed the explosive vest worn by the robbery suspect was a "hoax device."