Andres F. Santiago, in red, appears with a lawyer before a judge for a bail hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.
Updated at 7:09 p.m.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – A 20-year-old Chehalis resident turned himself in yesterday, admitting to police he robbed a woman at the TwinStar Credit Union’s ATM machine two weeks ago.
Andres F. Santiago was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree robbery, according to the Chehalis Police Department.
His arrest came the day after police arrested two younger males who reportedly were waiting in a car behind the bank.
The victim had gone to the 1500 block of South Market Boulevard to deposit a check in the ATM at about 9:15 p.m. on March 26. A male wearing a black bandana over his face approached her and said “empty all your cash,” but when she told him she had none, he demanded her cell phone, which she turned over, according to court documents.
James M. Rocha
Jean Gillmer was unhurt, according to police, but said the bandit showed her something in his waistband that was either the handle of a gun or a knife, according to authorities.
Earlier this week, Chehalis detective Jason Roberts was able to view security video from both sides of the building that showed what took place.
Detectives were led to their suspects by witnesses who saw a smaller, reddish oxidized car both before and after the event, according to charging documents. One of them who watched the car speed down 16th Street with its lights off took down its license plate numbers, according to the documents.
Police were able to “ping” the stolen cell phone, which helped them as well, Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said today.
The license plate led to a residence on Southwest 20th Street, where Roberts spoke with the registered owner and her teenage son on Wednesday, according to authorities. James M. Rocha, 18, was arrested, according to Chehalis Police Department spokesperson Linda Bailey. Two detectives returned to the home later in the day and arrested a 15-year-old boy, Bailey said.
All are from Chehalis, according to police.
Charging documents state the 15-year-old told detectives he was there, but didn’t do anything. They also relate that Rocha admitted to being the driver of the car.
First-degree robbery is a class A felony, with a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Charging documents offer some of the details, as follows:
The owners of Dairy Dan’s, a drive-in restaurant across the street from the credit union, saw a reddish car parked in their lot, and watched it head over to behind the credit union, without its headlights turned on.
Rocha told police Santiago said he needed to go to the bank, to pull out some money to buy his daughter clothes and diapers. He said they stopped at Dairy Dan’s, so Santiago could make phone call, and Santiago asked him to drop him at the bank and wait for him.
Rocha said he parked in the back. When Santiago came back, he told them he’d just robbed a girl, and showed the two males a knife he had in a black holster.
When Santiago turned himself in, he told detective Roberts he’d forced Rocha and the 15-year-old to drive him around, and he wanted them released because they didn’t do anything wrong.
He also told the detective he’d had a 9 mm handgun in the rear of his waistband that night.
Santiago was contacted by police yesterday, after they learned he wanted to talk with them, at a Cascade Mental health safe house.
Prosecutor Meagher said he’s not sure if the phone has been found.
The 15-year-old is being held at the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center on a probation violation, and has not yet been charged, according to Meagher.
Rocha, a graduate of W.F. West High School has a job, lives with his mother and has a 1-month-old baby. He has one juvenile felony from four years ago. His bail was set at $75,000 yesterday afternoon.
This afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court, defense attorney Joely O’Rourke asked for Santiago’s bail to be set at $25,000 and unsecured.
The unemployed father of a 7-month-old daughter has no felonies in his past, she said.
“He also turned himself in,” O’Rourke said.
She told the judge Santiago had recently gotten himself admitted into inpatient treatment to get help with drug addiction, and was working with Cascade Mental Health to “get back on track.”
Judge James Lawler set his bail at $100,000.
Santiago and Rocha both qualified for court-appointed attorneys. Their arraignments are set for next Thursday.
For background, read “Shakedown at Chehalis ATM” from Friday March 27, 2015, here