Bank robbery suspect ‘kept the note’

A 30-year-old man accused of robbing a Redwood City bank this week was arraigned Thursday in one of thefew recent Peninsula bank heists in which a suspect has been caught.

Phillip Guerra, of Redwood City, faces five years in prison for allegedly robbing the Bank of America on Jefferson Avenue on Tuesday afternoon.

Guerra was arrested the same day after he boarded a train at the Belmont station. He reportedly had $3,000 in his possession and the demand note he used in the heist.

“He kept the note,” Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Guerra was apprehended thanks in part to a tracking device that was placed with the money handed to him at the bank.

Aside from Tuesday’s robbery, there have been at least four other bank robberies on the Peninsula in the past three weeks, but no arrests have been made.

Redwood City police Sgt. Steve Blanc said the surge reflects a national trend.

“There is an increase in bank robberies,” he said. “It’s not just on the Peninsula or the Bay Area, but across the United States.

“As far as how to prevent them, we try to educate the bank employees. But there is no real way to fully prevent them.”

Also on Tuesday, a soft-spoken bandit robbed a Wells Fargo bank in South San Francisco.

On Aug. 2, a man robbed the World Savings Bank in San Mateo using a note. The robbery came three days after police arrested two men who allegedly planned to rob the Union Bank in San Mateo and 11 days after banks in Burlingame and Daly City were robbed within two hours of each other.

A bank manager at the Bank of America declined comment.

Guerra is charged with one felony count of robbery. He was on probation at the time for cocaine possession, Wagstaffe said. Guerra is scheduled to enter a plea Monday. He remains in custody on $100,000 bail.

bfoley@examiner.com

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