SANTA PAULA — Within 10 minutes of the robbery of Santa Paula Community Bank, a citizen report of a man acting suspiciously just a block east of the bank brought police units to the scene and the suspect believed responsible for the Jan. 9 heist.
Police quickly contacted Nelson Ayala Espinoza, 18, cowering in the restroom of a nearby retail store, where he was found in possession of the flannel jacket and sunglasses witnesses later confirmed were used in the robbery. Espinoza was also found in possession of a handwritten note he had displayed to bank tellers threatening them with bodily harm and the use of a handgun. And most incriminating of all, Espinoza was found in possession of the cash stolen just minutes earlier.
Police report that while Espinoza had apparently planned the robbery with some serious forethought, he had apparently failed to plan for his getaway and, while fleeing on foot, found himself at a dead-end and slipped into the retail store where he was eventually apprehended.
Espinoza was booked on charges of bank robbery and ultimately remanded to the custody of responding FBI agents.