Robert Alex Sanchez Jr.

Robert Alex Sanchez Jr. will soon stand trial for robbing the First American Bank, 3002 Southern Boulevard, on the afternoon of July 26.

According to the Summary of Probable Cause, the bank’s security footage revealed the man who robbed the bank was 5-10 or 5-11 tall, white or Hispanic, and was wearing a black mask on his face.

He entered the bank through a north door and demanded money from a teller. When the teller refused, the man pointed to a red bag he was carrying and said there was a bomb inside, and the teller complied, giving him $2,843, as well as a GPS tracker.

He left, leaving the bag inside, and the New Mexico State Police were notified to send their bomb technicians, with the bank quickly evacuated. Inside the bag were three pieces of painted wood and an LED light.

Thanks to the GPS tracker, he was determined to have gone to a convenience  store on Southern in a 2021 Chevrolet Trail Boss, before the tracker and a portion of the stolen money were located near Vista Hills Park, off NM 528 and north of where the robbery took place.

Area law enforcement agencies were sent images of Sanchez from the bank’s security camera. The next day, the Rio Rancho Police Department received a tip that the man they were looking for was Sanchez.

Agents checked his latest driver’s license photo (seen here) and determined it matched the images of the alleged robber. Their check into Sanchez’s past revealed he was living on 15th Avenue in Rio Rancho, and they began surveillance of that residence on the 28th, when they saw a vehicle that looked like the one the robber had used in his getaway.

They obtained a search warrant, confirmed it was the same vehicle, and arrested Sanchez on outstanding warrants.

According to the criminal complaint, after he had been read his Miranda rights, he admitted being responsible for the robbery – but he’d had financial hardships, as well as pressure from his wife, to “contribute more to the household.”

He then described the robbery and the red bag, which he said he wanted to appear heavy, as if it contained a bomb.

Sanchez has a lengthy criminal record, dating back to 1997. He has been convicted for possession of a controlled substance, bringing contraband into places of imprisonment, forgery (twice), armed robbery with a deadly weapon, and aggravated DWI.

He pled not guilty at his Aug. 18 arraignment before U.S. District Court Judge Jerry H. Ritter. On Aug. 23, a grand jury indicted Sanchez on the bank robbery charge.

Due to his criminal background, he was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.