Robbery suspects now minor celebrities at home |

Robbery suspects now minor celebrities at home

Veronica Whitney

VAIL – On the Gold Coast of Australia, where Luke Carroll and Anthony Prince grew up attending Catholic schools, the suspects in a Vail bank robbery have become the talk of the town, said Tony Wilson, a reporter at The Gold Coast Bulletin.”We are calling them ‘Dumb and Dumber,'” said Wilson, who is covering the case for the Bulletin. “The whole thing was crazy.” Prince, 19, from New Zealand, and Carroll, 19, an Australian, will remain detained in a federal prison in Denver until their trial in May after a federal judge declined to release them on bond, Jeff Dorschner of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver said Monday. The pair entered a not guilty plea at their arraignment Monday. A week-long trial has been scheduled for May 31. The two childhood buddies are suspected of robbing $123,000 (initial reports said they had taken $132,000) from a WestStar bank branch in Vail Village on March 21. They were caught the following day at Denver International Airport while waiting on a security line for a flight to Mexico. They were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury.As details about the hold-up emerge, people in their home beach towns of Australia are shocked, Wilson said.”These boys come from good families,” Wilson added. “They never had any trouble with the police in Australia.” If convicted Prince and Carroll face up to 25 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.”It’s quite an amazing story and we will follow it closely,” said Jacquie Stanfod, a reporter from a radio station in Auckland, New Zealand. “It is very uncommon to have a bank robbery in New Zealand.”Penalties for crimes in the United States are a lot harder than in New Zealand and Australia, Stanfod said in a phone interview Monday.”The worst murder sentence here is 25 years,” Stanfod said. “Australia is tougher than us, but still less than the U.S.”Though he is a citizen of New Zealand, Prince grew up in the beach resort of Lennox Head in Australia. Carroll grew up in the neighboring town of Byron Bay, another popular beach resort.”Prince attended an expensive Catholic school,” Wilson said.Before they allegedly robbed the bank, Prince and Carroll worked in a Vail Village sports store. When bank tellers described the men, Vail police were reminded of two men who been arrested in January for allegedly shooting paint balls at a house in East Vail. The police photos of those two suspects were included in an FBI bulletin a Denver police detective used to spot Carroll and Prince at the airport. The detective asked a Transportation Security Administration screener to find out if the men had foreign accents. The screener not only determined that they had accents, but took their passports and boarding passes. The men were then arrested without incident.”It has given us a bad name,” Jonathan Dow, a reporter for the Auckland-based The Herald on Sunday newspaper, said of the allegations. Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or Vail Colorado

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