Alleged bank robber held to answer

A 32-year-old man who told police he robbed a U.S. Bank in Burlingame on Aug. 14 because of “the economy” was held to answer on all charges in San Mateo County Superior Court Tuesday, a chief deputy district attorney said.

Hayward resident Elmer Reyes allegedly entered the bank at 1188 El Camino Real alone at about 2:45 p.m. and displayed a .38-caliber handgun, ordering everyone to the ground, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

He then allegedly jumped on the counter and ordered a teller to go from drawer to drawer and collect the money.

Four tellers handed over a total of $38,000 in cash, including money with a concealed tracking device, and Reyes allegedly fled the bank.

Burlingame police were able to track Reyes across the San Mateo Bridge into Hayward, where he was involved in a collision on Interstate Highway 880, Wagstaffe said.

Police stopped and attempted to arrest Reyes, who was uncooperative and fought with officers, according to Wagstaffe. Police
Tasered and arrested Reyes and allegedly found a loaded .38-caliber handgun and cash in the vehicle.

When asked why he committed the robbery, Reyes told officers he robbed the bank because of “the economy,” according to Wagstaffe.

Reyes is charged with four felony counts of robbery with a gun, one for each teller at the bank, and four counts of felony assault with a gun. The case is being treated as a three-strikes case because of two prior felony assaults, and Reyes faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, Wagstaffe said.

During a preliminary hearing in South San Francisco today, the district attorney's office called six witnesses and the defense presented no evidence, Wagstaffe said.

Judge Lisa Novak held Reyes to answer on all counts.

Reyes is scheduled to return to court Oct. 1 at 8:45 a.m. for Superior Court arraignment. He remains in custody on $500,000 bail.

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