Suspects had been in bank before heist
VAIL ” Cancel that call to John Walsh.
The host of “America’s Most Wanted” won’t get the case of Anthony Harold Prince and Luke Gabriel Carroll, both 19, who were arrested Tuesday morning in connection with the robbery the day before of the Vail Village branch of WestStar Bank.
Prince, who is from New Zealand, and Carroll, an Australian, entered the United States in November and both were working at Pepi Sports in Vail Village.
Prince and Carroll were arrested by a Denver police detective as they waited in a security screening line at Denver International Airport. Detective Greg Faciane recognized the men because their photos had been faxed to the airport moments before.
While the suspects wore ski masks during the robbery, they apparently made some mistakes that doomed the plot.
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“They were people who’d been in the bank before,” said Dan Godec, president and chief executive officer of WestStar Bank. “With their accents and descriptions, we had a good feel of who we thought they were.”
Investigators used tapes from the bank’s video monitors, both from the day of the robbery and previous times the suspects had been in the bank. Godec declined to say whether the suspects were customers.
While getting descriptions of the suspects from the tellers, two Vail officers thought of a pair of men who had been arrested earlier this year.
Carroll and Prince had been arrested by Vail police in January on suspicion of damage to property and firing a weapon ” the latter a felony ” after allegedly firing paint ball guns into the windows of a home in East Vail.
The men’s mug shots from that incident were then given to the FBI, which sent them to the federal Transportation Security Agency office at the Denver airport, and then to Denver police on duty there.
“The Vail police did great investigative work,” Godec said. “And the FBI was here quickly. This is a federal crime, so there’s a lot of attention given to any bank robbery.”
Prince and Carroll are now in federal custody, and made their initial appearance in federal court in Denver Wednesday morning.
Jeff Dorschner of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver said a bond hearing will be held either Friday or Monday. The government will ask a judge to hold both men without bond.
According to an arrest affidavit filed in federal court Wednesday by FBI special agent Jonathan Grusig, two suspects entered the WestStar Bank branch on Hanson Ranch Road just after 10 a.m. Monday. Both were wearing ski masks and were brandishing handguns.
One of the two tellers on duty, who had just walked into the office, was grabbed by her backpack and thrown to the floor. She was told not to look up.
The other teller was taken at gunpoint to the bank’s vault and ordered to put cash into a white bag. A subsequent bank audit determined the men left the bank with more than $130,000.
At about 11:45 a.m. that day, a Hanson Ranch Road resident left his home and saw a brick of cash, a pistol and a jacket in the snow just outside his home. He called police.
When police arrived, the resident handed over two bricks of cash, each containing $1,000, and two BB guns.
After the robbery, a Vail Resorts employee said Prince and Carroll rode a ski lift out of the Village.
Cash has been found in several places, including on the suspects and at the Denver airport.
The FBI affidavit states that both Carroll and Prince have confessed, and have allegedly provided details about the planning, execution and escape following the robbery, as well as where chunks of the money taken were stashed.
“It was a fairly well-orchestrated plan,” Henninger said. “We did good, hard work to find these guys.”
Godec is just glad the case appears to be solved.
“We’re just grateful the employees followed their procedures and weren’t hurt,” Godec said. “We can replace money, but we can’t replace people.”
Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado