Father-son allegedly involved in Abilene bank robbery; arrest made, others possible

POSTED: 3:11 PM Oct 03 2012   UPDATED: 4:08 PM Oct 03 2012
Frank A Esparza Jr.
ABILENE, Texas -

An Abilene teen has been arrested for his part in the robbery last week of First Bank Texas on South 1st Street.

Frank A. Esparza Jr., 17, remained jailed Wednesday in lieu of $250,000 bond after being charged with 1st degree felony robbery, Abilene police said in a news release.

In addition, an arrest warrant for a 16-year-old male – who was released to a parent – is pending, and the alleged criminal involvement of Esparza’s father “will be further investigated,” police said.

Police said they believe 40-year-old Frank Esparza Sr., 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 about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Last Thursday, 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 CrimeStoppers started receiving tips about the man’s identity captured on video surveillance. That man turned out to be Frank A. Esparza Jr., police said.

On 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,” the 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 declined to release additional information at this time.

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