Man arrested in San Diego ruled out as suspect

Christopher Maher, Jim Wells County Correspondent

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has taken over the investigation of a bank robbery that occurred in Benavides last Monday morning, and agents are asking for the public's help in locating the suspect.

Duval County Sheriff Santiago Barrera Jr. said Tuesday the case has been turned over to the FBI, and that his office is now assisting those agents with their investigation.

Barrera did confirm that a local man who was arrested Monday following the incident has been ruled out as a suspect in the robbery.

The 49-year-old San Diego man was pulled over in a silver Chevrolet sedan on Highway 359 near the San Diego High School about 11 a.m. Monday. A search of the vehicle reportedly revealed a weapon.

He was arrested and charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon and was transported to the Duval County jail. He was released on bond from the jail Monday afternoon, and Barrera stressed that he is not considered a suspect in the robbery.

In a press release issued Tuesday, officials with the FBI asked for the public's help in identifying the masked gunman who robbed the Texas Champion Bank, located at 300 East Main Street in Benavides, Texas on Monday.

According to information provided by the FBI, at approximately 10 a.m., the masked gunman walked into the bank with his pistol pointed at bank employees. With a raised voice, he verbally demanded cash from the bank tellers.

He was given an undisclosed amount of cash, and he initially fled the scene on foot, but may have been driving a smaller, silver colored sedan.

The suspect is described as a white male, possibly Hispanic, approximately 25 to 35 years old and 6 feet tall with a medium build.

During the robbery, he wore a long-sleeved light colored shirt, dark pants, dark gloves and a baseball cap.

He was armed with a black pistol and attempted to conceal his identity with a white mask he wore over his face. He used a black tote bag to carry the cash.

FBI Agent Shauna Dunlap said Tuesday that because of his aggressive nature, the suspect should be considered to be armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Houston office of the FBI at 713-693-5000.