Officers recall arrest of alleged Minden bank robber
Nevada Appeal News Service
MINDEN – Douglas County law enforcement officers on Friday described the search for the man they believed responsible for the Nov. 22, 2005, robbery of the Minden Bank of America.
Sgt. Joe Duffy and deputies Will Lynch and Robert Duffy took the stand in an East Fork Justice Court preliminary hearing for Steven John Simmons, 27, who is accused of taking $5,000 in the theft.
Prosecutor Derrick Lopez called 10 of his 15 witnesses to the stand on Friday in the hearing before Justice of the Peace Jim EnEarl. Five additional witnesses are expected to testify on Sept. 8 when the hearing will continue. Simmons was present in court and is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail. In addition to the robbery, he is facing charges of burglary, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm with the serial number changed, altered, removed, or obliterated, and grand larceny.
Deputy Robert Duffy described arriving at the bank seconds after the report was broadcast.
He testified that he pulled up to the bank and was told by three employees that they’d been robbed and the man who did it was headed north from the bank.
“I drove to the northwest end of the parking lot and saw someone walking through the field wearing a white shirt and blue pants,” he said. “I grabbed my shotgun and he looked at me and took off running.”
Duffy said he ran after the man, spotting him as he ran among some outbuildings toward County Road.
Deputy Will Lynch said he pulled up next to Duffy’s patrol car when he saw Duffy starting to run across the field. As he was trying to catch up to Duffy, he spotted the man in the white shirt crossing County Road between house numbers 1668 and 1672.
Sgt. Joe Duffy and K-9 Kilo arrived on the scene and deputies began to search backyards in the neighborhood.
Sgt. Duffy said they spotted an open garage door and he was getting ready to send Kilo through when Lynch saw the man all three identified as Simmons sitting inside the dog crate.
Joe Duffy testified a black backpack was found after about 15 minutes of searching.
Duffy said he unzipped the backpack and spotted U.S. currency, and a pair of shoes with bright laces, and then zipped it back up and put it back where he found it until an investigator arrived.
On Friday morning, Simmons’ friend Shawn Johnson testified he traded Simmons a 9 mm Glock similar to the one recovered after the bank robbery.
Johnson said he and Simmons came to Lake Tahoe from Mammoth Lakes on Nov. 21 so Simmons could see his girlfriend.
The seasonal firefighter testified he and Simmons parted ways on the afternoon of the robbery in South Lake Tahoe after Simmons gave Johnson the keys to his car and asked that Johnson apologize to Simmons’ girlfriend and roommate, should he not return.
Washoe County Senior Criminalist Jeffrey Riolo described testing items he received from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office against DNA samples taken from Simmons.
He said Simmons DNA was on a 9 mm Glock handgun, a set of goggles, a pair of sneakers and a ski mask. Under cross-examination, he said the gun also had DNA from two or three other people, but that the other results could not be matched to anyone.