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Suspect in $4.3M Bank Theft Had Elaborate Getaway: DOJ

Extradited Alaska man drove, flew, cabbed it, and took a bus all the way to Mexico
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2018 4:03 AM CDT
Suspect in $4.3M Bank Theft Had Elaborate Getaway: DOJ
A KeyBank on a bank machine in Pittsburgh on Feb. 10, 2017.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Seven years after a bank in Alaska had more than $4 million lifted, the man suspected of stealing the money has been extradited back there—all the way from Mexico. A DOJ release reports that 33-year-old Gerardo "Gary" Adan Cazarez Valenzuela, who used to be the cash vault services manager at an Anchorage KeyBank, will appear in court Thursday in the Last Frontier. He stands accused of strolling into the bank on the night of July 29, 2011, filling three large boxes with $4.3 million in cash, and fleeing, all in about 20 minutes' time. A sworn affidavit from an FBI special agent cited in the New York Times reveals the intricacies of Cazarez's alleged getaway route: He drove home to stuff the cash into suitcases and other bags, took a charter plane to Seattle, then took a taxi to meet his girlfriend.

After acquiring an AK-47 and another gun, as well as ammo, per the affidavit, Cazarez bought a Ford Fusion, and the two drove to Tijuana, Mexico. They then ditched the car and hopped on a bus bound for Sonora, Mexico—and that's when they were busted with the weapons and $3.8 million in cash after being randomly flagged for inspection at a checkpoint. Meanwhile, back in Anchorage, it took bank officials an entire day to get the vault door open when Cazarez was a no-show for work. Cazarez was charged and convicted in Mexico for money laundering and illegal possession of firearms and served out that sentence before being shipped back to the US. The AP notes Cazarez's girlfriend wasn't charged. If convicted, Cazarez could see up to 30 years behind bars and be hit with a fine up to $1 million. (Read more theft stories.)

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