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JAILHOUSE INTERVIEW: Teen facing bank robbery charges speaks to KTXS

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Oct 04 2012 10:40:26 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 05 2012 12:06:01 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

A teen charged with allegedly aiding the robbery of an Abilene bank last week says he didn't have anything to do with the crime – and that neither did his dad.

Frank Esparza Jr., 17, is being held in Taylor County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond. He was charged earlier this week with first-degree felony robbery.

Police said Esparza Jr. walked into the First Bank Texas on South 1st Street approximately 30 minutes before it was robbed. They believe he was staking out the scene for his father, Frank Esparza Sr., who they suspect robbed the bank at gunpoint.

With help from the El Paso Police Department, Esparza Sr. was located and arrested about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday on a parole warrant.

"My dad wouldn't put me in that situation: 'Go check out this bank so I can rob it,'" Esparza Jr. told KTXS in a jailhouse interview. "Even if he did, I would never do that. 'Man, dad what are you thinking about?' You know what I'm saying? It's our first time ever being able to be together and you want to pull something like that? I would never let that happen."

Esparza Jr. said he had nothing to do with the robbery and simply wanted to open a bank account.

"That's what they're giving me a charge of aggravated robbery, a bond of $250,000? Because I walked into the bank, asked about an account, and left," Esparza Jr. said.
Police said his father, Esparza Sr. was arrested for a parole warrant in El Paso -- and that he is being investigated for his involvement in the bank robbery.

"I'm pretty sure if my dad had something to do with it he'd come save me. If I get locked up with this I'm fixing to do hard time," Esparza Jr. said.

Esparza Jr. said he saw his dad the day before the robbery, but thinks his dad was out of town when the bank was held up. He also said he doesn’t have an alibi for the time the robbery was committed.

Esparza Jr. was located and brought to the Law Enforcement Center, along with a 16-year-old juvenile who was released to a parent.

“Investigators learned that the juvenile had directly aided in the commission of the robbery and had benefitted materially from proceeds of the robbery,” an Abilene Police Department news release said. “The investigation also revealed that more than two people were involved. Mr. Esparza Jr. was found to be criminally responsible for the robbery, as was the juvenile.

“Investigators turned their attention to a third suspect (Esparza Sr.) that they believed had fled the city of Abilene and had been directly involved in the robbery.”

Since 2007, the news release said, Abilene police have investigated six bank robberies.