San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 20th, 2009
Alleged dollar store robber charged with January bank heist

SUBMITTED REPORT

A 27-year-old New Braunfels man arrested by the San Marcos police department last week for robbing the Dollar General store has been charged with robbing the American National Bank in San Marcos on Jan. 12.

On Monday, a federal complaint was filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation through the United States Attorney’s Office in Austin charging Christopher Ryan Smith with bank robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.

Smith is currently jailed at the Hays County Law Enforcement Center under bonds totaling $600,000, including $400,000 for the aggravated robbery of the Dollar General and $200,000 for evading arrest.

At approximately 6:45 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 12, an employee arriving at the American National Bank, located at 2202 Hunter Road, was accosted by an armed suspect who forced the employee into the bank at gunpoint. Once inside the bank, the suspect took an undisclosed amount of currency and then fled on foot into the wooded area near the bank.

The subsequent investigation into the bank robbery revealed two similar bank robberies believed to have been committed by the same offender in neighboring cities.

On Dec. 12, the American National Bank in Luling was robbed and on Oct. 27, the American Bank of Texas in Garden Ridge was robbed. The suspect description in all three robberies was that of a white male subject wearing black clothing, tennis shoes and carrying a black bag. The suspect was armed with a black colored handgun in two of the robberies.

Smith was arrested in New Braunfels on Thursday for robbing the Dollar General Store at gunpoint and leading police on a high speed pursuit into New Braunfels.

Evidence recovered at the time of his arrest as well as evidence recovered from the execution of a search warrant at Smith’s residence in New Braunfels led to the filing of Federal Bank Robbery charges on Monday. Federal charges for the Luling and Garden Ridge bank robberies are anticipated as well.

“We are very relieved to have this violent offender in custody” said San Marcos police Cmdr. Terry Nichols. “Many different agencies worked together to apprehend this bank robber and this type of case is a testament to the strong working relationships area law enforcement have with each other.”

Agencies involved in the bank robbery investigations include the San Marcos Police Department, Luling Police Department, Garden Ridge Police Department, the Texas Rangers, and the FBI. Agencies involved with the response and apprehension of Smith on Thursday included the San Marcos Police Department, Texas State University Police Department, New Braunfels Police Department, Comal County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Highway Patrol.

— FROM THE CITY OF SAN MARCOS/MELISSA MILLECAM

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