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Santa Maria Bank Robbery Suspect Charged

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office released this statement Tuesday afternoon:

District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that charges have been filed against Arthur Watkins, age 55, of Arroyo Grande, California, as a result of an incident at the East Main Street branch of Wells Fargo Bank in Santa Maria, on November 16, 2013.

There are seven felony counts: Burglary, five counts of Robbery, and one count of Brandishing a Firearm at a Police Officer, plus an allegation that Watson was armed with a .45 caliber Glock handgun which he used in an attempt to avoid capture.

The five robbery counts name as a victim each of the individual bank employees from whom cash was allegedly taken, as there is no generic “bank robbery” statute under California law.

Also charged today in a separate complaint was Jose Armando Villa Mendez, age 19, of Santa Maria, California. The complaint filed against Villa-Mendez alleges one count of Grand Theft and one count of Receiving Stolen Property for allegedly taking a bag of currency dropped by Watkins during Watkins’ flight.

Arraignment for both men is scheduled for November 19, 2013, in Santa Maria Superior Court, Dept. 9.

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