Off-duty Officer Assists in the Capture of Bank Robber

June 9, 2006

Los Angeles: An off-duty Los Angeles Police Detective played a significant role in the capture of an armed bank robbery suspect in the 28000 block of Western Avenue in Rancho Palos Verdes.

On June 2, 2006, around 2:30 p.m., Detective Virginia Rubalcava was doing what most parents do after work, picking up their children from school. However, on this day this simple routine would take a very different twist.

Rubalcava was picking up her son when she saw a man loitering in a nearby parking lot. The temperature that day was very warm and he was wearing a long sleeve shirt, a hooded sweatshirt and was carrying a red bag. The man appeared very nervous. Seconds later, a man ran up and shouted “Hey get back in the school, the bank
was just robbed and there he is,” referring to the man in the hooded sweatshirt.

Rubalcava instructed her son to go back inside the school and then contacted local authorities, via 911.

The suspect walked to the rear of the school and opened a gate leading to a trash bin. He then walked back into the parking lot, but was no longer carrying the red bag. As he walked away from the parking lot, Rubalcava continued to monitor him while waiting for police.

Rubalcava noticed he was approaching a storage facility with several patrons inside. Rubalcava, concerned the suspect was still armed with a gun, decided to take action and approached the suspect. She drew her gun and ordered him to the ground. He was detained until police units arrived and arrested him. During the search, officers recovered several hundred-dollar bills from the suspect’s pocket, many of which still had the bank’s seal. Rubalcava directed officers to the trash bin were they recovered a handgun and the red bank bag.

According to investigators, the robber walked into the bank, pointed a gun at a teller and demanded money. After receiving the money, he walked behind the counter and demanded the keys to the cash drawers. When told by bank employees that there were no keys, the suspect turned and hit one of the employees twice in the face with his fist. Eventually, he gained access to a cash locker where he obtained more money. A total of $13,546 was recovered.

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