Fingerprint, Crime Line tip led officials to Happy State Bank robbery suspect

Suspect in Happy State Bank robbery (Source: Lubbock Police)
Suspect in Happy State Bank robbery (Source: Lubbock Police)
Published: Mar. 21, 2018 at 7:37 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2018 at 6:08 PM CDT
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(Source: LPD)
(Source: LPD)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Eddie Estuardo Galindo-Mendez was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, charged with the robbery of Happy State Bank back on Nov. 20, 2017.

Court records indicate that Galindo-Mendez entered the bank with a package, used the threat of a bomb to rob the bank, then rode away on a bicycle.

There were no injuries reported from the robbery.

The indictment says Galindo-Mendez was seen placing an IED on a student's truck at Texas Tech University that same afternoon.

According to court documents, Galindo-Mendez rode his bike to Higinbotham Park after the robbery and loaded his bicycle into a pickup truck. A crime line tip from a witness at the park led officials to Galindo-Mendez. The park is 0.6 miles away from the bank.

The truck belonged to a woman and her fingerprint was found on the package left at the bank. Officials located her on March 12, 2018 and she told investigators she was with Galindo-Mendez on Nov. 20. She told officials they went to the park and after a few minutes, Galindo-Mendez said he had to go meet a friend and it wouldn't take very long. He took his bike from the truck and biked away. The woman said he was gone for 10 or 15 minutes.

The U.S. District Attorney for North Texas released this statement on Wednesday.

LUBBOCK, Texas — A federal grand jury in Lubbock, Texas, returned an indictment today charging Eddie Estuardo Galindo-Mendez, 43, a Guatemalan citizen, with one count of bank robbery for the November 20, 2017, robbery of Happy State Bank in Lubbock, Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.

Galindo-Mendez was charged last week in a related federal criminal complaint with one count of bank robbery. He was in federal custody on other charges at the time the complaint was filed.

According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint and the indictment, on November 20, 2017, law enforcement responded to a call for two suspected Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). One IED was located on the campus of Texas Tech University and one was used in the robbery at Happy State Bank, located in Lubbock, Texas. The IEDs were described as pipe bombs. Law enforcement reviewed surveillance video captured from Texas Tech University and Happy State Bank's interior video systems. The videos show that around 1:27 p.m. the suspected IED was placed on a student's truck at Texas Tech University and at around 3:00 p.m. an individual robbed the Happy State Bank utilizing a note and a suspected IED.

Employees at the bank advised that Galindo-Mendez entered the bank, approached the teller, and handed the teller a note that stated he had a bomb and requested money. Galindo-Mendez also placed what appeared to be a pipe bomb on the counter. The employees provided Galindo-Mendez with approximately $2,553 and he left the bank on a bicycle and took the note, but left behind the IED. Bomb Technicians examined the IED and determined it to be inert.

"Prosecuting violent crimes is a top priority for my office and the Department of Justice," said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox.  "Prosecuting those violent crimes that touch upon the safety and security of our schools, universities and financial institutions is of paramount importance.  To those who commit violent crimes and threaten these institutions, know that law enforcement will relentlessly pursue bringing you to justice."

ATF Dallas Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek stated, "Today's indictment is an example of ATF's commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to pursue federal criminal charges against those that use firearms, explosives or arson to victimize businesses and endanger the public that patronizes them."

"This is yet another example of the cooperative efforts that federal, state and local agencies do on a regular basis for the citizens in Lubbock and the surrounding communities," said Assistant Chief Jerry Brewer, Lubbock Police Department Investigations Services Bureau.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.  However, the maximum statutory penalty for the offenses charges is 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Lubbock Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Border Patrol, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Tech University Police Department, and the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Haag is in charge of the prosecution.

RELATED STORY: Police release new photo of Happy State Bank robbery suspect

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