2 of 4 suspects are on the loose after bank heistby Leah Trinidad on Dec. 22, 1997, under Tucson and Arizona
• Police say the suspects drove a rental car from Phoenix and stayed in a motel near West Grant Road and Interstate 10 before the robbery.
LEAH TRINIDAD Citizen Staff Writer
Detectives ”have a good idea” who assisted two gunmen Friday in a bank robbery that turned into a gunbattle between suspects and pursuing officers, police say.
Investigators have not found or identified the two additional suspects, but police believe four people were involved in the robbery at the Wells Fargo Bank branch at 3655 E. Grant Road.
The four suspects, who police say are from the Phoenix area, drove a rental car to Tucson and stayed at a motel near Grant Road and Interstate 10 before the robbery, said Sgt. Bob Webster of the Tucson Police Department’s robbery unit.
James Mathew Tigue, 31, and Wayne Alan Byerly, 36, were arrested Friday in connection with the robbery. They are in the Pima County Jail.
Tigue is charged with armed robbery and is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Byerly is charged with armed robbery and is being held in lieu of $750,000 bail.
Webster said he did not know which of the four suspects rented the car, and would not say at which motel they stayed.
He would not comment on what was found after police searched the suspects’ motel room.
Webster said it was Tucson’s first ”takedown” robbery, in which the robbers order people to the floor, this year.
He said the ensuing chase and gunbattle with police were ”ugly.”
”The logistics of the thing was dangerous,” because the public was at risk of being caught in the cross fire or hit by a car during the high-speed chase.
The bank robbery – the city’s 60th this year, police say – began when two armed, masked men entered the bank at East Grant Road and North Dodge Boulevard and demanded an undisclosed amount of cash from all the tellers.
No one was injured, and no shots were fired in the bank.
Police said at least one other suspect waited in the car, but they said a fourth suspect could have been crouching in the vehicle.
During the getaway, police said the suspects exchanged gunshots with officers during a chase that ended when at least two suspects ditched the silver Buick Park Avenue in a North Side neighborhood a few miles away at North Stone Avenue and West Fort Lowell Road.
Police SWAT team members conducted an intense manhunt that resulted in the capture of Tigue and Byerly.
Tigue was arrested near the abandoned car, while Byerly hid in a storage shed at an apartment complex in the 200 block of East Delano Street and eluded police for nearly two hours, police said.