Robbery suspect quickly caught
A bank robbery suspect apparently took a wrong turn and then got caught in traffic before being caught by police Friday afternoon near a freeway interchange.
Police identified the man as Robert Todd Bruce, 48, of Reno, who was booked into Shasta County jail on suspicion of armed robbery.
A second person in the getaway car, Joseph Anthony Tagliamonti, 46, of Phoenix, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and four counts of forgery, Redding police Sgt. Dean Stainberg said.
The robbery occurred just before 2:30 p.m. at the North Valley Bank branch on East Cypress Avenue in Redding. The suspects' car was spotted going west on East Cypress Avenue by a Redding police investigator and officers stopped the car within about 10 minutes of the robbery.
All northbound lanes of Interstate 5 were blocked temporarily when the suspects' car was stopped near Highway 44.
Duane Langshaw, who was riding his motorbike on Wall Street, was a witness to the getaway. He saw a man sprinting from the bank with a blue bag wearing an auburn wig and a green hat.
"He came running with a hat and a wig on," Langshaw said.
He said the man got into a green car with Nevada plates parked on Wall Street and sped away, but, surprisingly, turned east onto East Cypress Avenue - away from the freeway.
The lone gunman who held up the bank was described as about 6 feet tall, 160 pounds, with shaggy dark hair, dark glasses and a hat.
"He approached a teller, displayed a handgun and demanded money," said Sgt. Koby Heston of the Redding Police Department.
Heston said the teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the robber escaped eastbound on East Cypress Avenue in a green car.
But he must have changed direction. Minutes later, the police investigator spotted him near the freeway entrance.
Police arrested the suspect and a passenger in the car after patrol cars pulled them over. The suspect did not resist arrest, and witnesses from the bank were brought to identify the man on the freeway.
"We recovered the handgun and the money," Heston said.
Police later said the firearm was a pellet gun. They also found the suspect's disguise and a demand note.
Sande Blalock, North Valley Bank's marketing director, said she didn't have any details on the robbery but said the bank's employees responded as they were trained to do.
The branch was closed Friday afternoon while police conducted their investigation, she said. Blalock expected the branch to reopen today.Reporter Dylan