Serial Bank Robbery Suspect, Fernando Enriquez Federally Charged
(STL.News) An Albuquerque man suspected of committing a string of bank robberies across Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Mississippi, and California has been federally charged, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Fernando Enriquez, 35, was charged via criminal complaint on Wednesday with one count of bank robbery. He made his initial appearance Thursday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge John R. Parker.
According to the complaint, on Tuesday, Mr. Enriquez allegedly entered a Chase Bank in Abilene, Texas, brandished a firearm, demanded cash from the teller, and then fled the scene.
The teller, who activated her silent alarm during the robbery, later described the suspect as a heavy-set Hispanic man wearing a face mask, grey hoodie, jeans, and a baseball cap.
A witness who was inside the bank during the incident used his phone to record video footage of the suspect exiting the bank and entering a white Chevrolet suburban bearing Mississippi license plates. He immediately turned the video over to law enforcement.
Forty-five minutes later, Texas DPS and Abilene Police Department officers pulled over the suburban in Merkel, Texas and detained Mr. Enriquez and his girlfriend, Crystal Quispe. Inside the vehicle, officers found a firearm, a gray hoodie, baseball cap, and a significant sum of U.S. currency.
Law enforcement transported Mr. Enriquez and Ms. Quispe to the Abilene Police Department, where Ms. Quispe told FBI agents that over the past 14 months, she and Mr. Enriquez have lived in Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, and California. She stated that though Mr. Enriquez was not employed most of that time, he always seemed to have cash on hand.
She told officers that prior to the robbery, Mr. Enriquez left her and his children at a motel, stating he had to fill the car with gas. When he returned, she said, he rushed to get the vehicle loaded and leave. She described Mr. Enriquez’s driving during their departure from Abilene as faster and more erratic than usual.
Based on physical description and the modus operandi, investigators believed that the suspect who committed the Abilene robbery may have committed similar robberies in Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, and California. They showed Ms. Quispe two photographs from the other bank robberies, both provided by FBI Phoenix. Ms. Quispe identified the man in the photographs as Mr. Enriquez.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Enriquez is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. (Ms. Quispe has not been charged with any crimes.)
If convicted, Mr. Enriquez faces up to 25 years in federal prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Phoenix and Dallas Field Offices conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Abilene Police Department, and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Tusing of the Northern District of Texas is prosecuting the case with significant support from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona.