Bank robbery/bomb scare suspect hails from Gilroy

Alfred Apaiz

One of two suspects involved in yesterday’s bank robbery/bomb scare that backed up traffic on State Highway 85 for several hours is Alfred Apaiz, a 23-year-old resident from Gilroy.

The other suspect is Luis Barrios, 35, of San Jose, according to the San Jose Police Department.

At 11:36 a.m. Thursday, SJP officers responded to reports of a robbery at a Bank of America located on the 5600 Block of Snell Avenue in San Jose. The suspects were gone upon police rival. Officers at the scene determined that one suspect entered the bank, displayed a “device” and demanded money.

Fearing for their lives, bank employees gave the suspect an undisclosed quantity of cash. The suspect then fled the bank to a getaway vehicle, which police describe as a blue Honda.

According to police, the two suspects fled on foot after crashing their Honda, which they were driving northbound on Highway 85 near Highway 87. One suspect was detained by a good samaritan; the other was found by police on the sports field of Gunderson High School, which was placed on lockdown for a brief time until both suspects were taken into custody.

In the meantime, the San Jose Police Bomb Unit responded to the scene of a highway collision to evaluate the blue Honda for possible explosives. Officers blocked traffic in both directions on Highway 85 between Blossom Hill Road and Santa Teresa Boulevard for approximately five hours while the bomb unit worked. A water charge was eventually detonated on the device, which police now believe was not an explosive.

One of the two suspects was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries sustained in the traffic collision. Police did not clarify in their press release which suspect this was, however. Both suspects remain in SJPD custody and will be booked for armed robbery. The incident is still being investigated by the SJPD Robbery Unit.

According to Dispatch records, this not Apaiz’s first offense. In November 2007, Apaiz was booked into the Gilroy Police Department on charges of brandishing a gun; along with outstanding warrants for buying or receiving stolen property; possession of drug paraphernalia; and for possession of a controlled substance.

Anyone with information regarding Thursday’s incident is urged to contact the San Jose Police Department’s Robbery Unit at (408)277-4166. Persons wishing to remain anonymous can call Silicon Valley Crimestoppers at (408)947-STOP (7867).

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