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Juvenile becomes second arrested for alleged part in recent Abilene bank robbery

Published On: Oct 09 2012 11:37:26 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 09 2012 07:35:36 AM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

A 16-year-old Abilene male is the second to be arrested for allegedly taking part in the robbery of First Bank Texas on South 1st Street nearly two weeks ago.

The case of the youth, who isn’t being named because of his age, is being handled in the juvenile justice system.

Last week, the first arrest was made as a result of the Thursday, Sept. 27, bank robbery. Frank A. Esparza Jr., 17, was arrested and currently is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond. Esparza Jr. has been charged with 1st-degree felony robbery. Esparza Jr. recently denied involvement during a jailhouse KTXS interview.

Meanwhile, police have said they believe 40-year-old Frank Esparza Sr. -- Esparza Jr.’s father who was on parole -- was “the actual gunman that entered the bank and stole cash.” With help from the El Paso Police Department, Esparza Sr. was located and arrested last Wednesday on a parole warrant. He hasn't yet been charged for participating in the robbery.

On Thursday, Sept. 27, police were called to First Bank Texas after the robbery by a masked man at gunpoint. On Friday, Abilene police released still images to the news media of the bank robber and images of another person, a male, who had been in the bank about 30 minutes before the robbery.

After the release of the photos, police said Crime Stoppers started receiving tips about the man’s identity captured on video surveillance. That man turned out to be Frank A. Esparza Jr., police said.

Last Tuesday, Esparza Jr. was located and brought to the Law Enforcement Center along with a 16-year-old male.

“Investigators learned that the juvenile had directly aided in the commission of the robbery and had benefitted materially from proceeds of the robbery,” a recent 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.”
Abilene police have declined to release additional information at this time.

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