When Adan Garcia, a civilian parking officer with the Nogales Police Department, went to help control traffic in and out of the vaccination clinic on Hohokam Drive last Thursday, he probably had no idea that he’d finish the day by helping to apprehend a suspected bank robber.
But according to NPD, that’s exactly what happened.
As Garcia was leaving his shift at the clinic and driving south on Hohokam, he spotted a man walking north who appeared to match the description of a suspect who robbed the Chase Bank on Mariposa Road of approximately $1,000 on Thanksgiving Eve. So Garcia contacted the detective leading the investigation.
When the detective and other officers arrived, they identified 29-year-old Anthony C. Maytorena as the bank robbery suspect by his neck tattoos and other physical characteristics, NPD said in a news release.
Maytorena reportedly gave the officers permission to search him and his and belongings. When they checked a bag he was carrying, they found a white long-sleeve shirt with gold stripes down the sleeves and a logo on the left side of the chest, as well as a dark-colored “True Religion” baseball cap – items that matched the clothing worn by the bank robber, NPD said.
(Maytorena was similarly careless with his Facebook page. After his arrest was announced, social media users noted that he had posted a photo to his Facebook page in which he was wearing what appeared to be the same cap.)
In addition, police said, Maytorena was wearing white tennis shoes at the time of his arrest that reportedly had a tread pattern that matched prints found in a wash near the crime scene.
One of the physical characteristics that police noticed about Maytorena was that he had a large birthmark on the back of his neck – a trait the bank suspect had apparently tried to obscure, but that was still visible to security cameras.
Bermudez said the suspect had also used talcum power to try to obscure his neck tattoos, but they were also visible to the bank’s cameras. A photo of Maytorena taken after his arrest showed him with tattoos on his neck and throat.
Yet another thing about Maytorena that matched the suspect was that at the time of his arrest, he was wearing a brace on his right arm. The arm was not mobile, Bermudez said.
Investigators noticed that during the robbery, the suspect kept his right arm at his side and relied strictly on his left.
“He even dropped the money at the bank and he picked it up with his left hand,” Bermudez said.
Police believe they know why Maytorena has trouble with his right arm: because he was shot in the right shoulder by a Nogales police detective in April 2008 as the car he was in barreled through downtown toward Mexico.
In the 2008 case, NPD officers tried to stop a Dodge Spirit that was allegedly loaded with marijuana on Grand Avenue. Instead, the car took off toward the border, striking and badly injuring a 72-year-old woman on Arroyo Boulevard at Plum Street.
The Dodge later rammed a vehicle stopped at a traffic light at Crawford Street before allegedly backing up and trying to run down two plain-clothes NPD detectives. One detective fired into the car, but it sped off, hitting more vehicles before it raced through the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry and into Mexico. Police in Nogales, Sonora, stopped the Dodge and took a 17-year-old U.S. resident to a hospital with an upper shoulder wound, then-Police Chief William Ybarra told the NI at the time.
Police here have previously identified Maytorena as the person shot in that case, and say they believe he served jail time in Mexico for the incident.
Speaking in regard to last Thursday’s arrest, Bermudez said: “We found the shirt, we found the cap and then we put together the limited mobility with his right arm – I mean, it was just a great investigative job that was done by all involved.”
And the crucial piece of the investigative puzzle – finding someone who matched what police had learned about the bank robbery suspect – was put in place thanks to an alert civilian parking officer driving away from a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
“Our officers worked hard and diligently to identify the suspect in this case. Fortunately the arrest was made possible by the quick thinking and great observation skills of Parking Control Officer Adan Garcia,” Bermudez said in a statement about the arrest, adding: “I am very proud and fortunate to lead a department of hard-working men and women who are extremely dedicated in keeping our community safe.”
Following his arrest, Maytorena was booked into the county jail. As of Friday afternoon, he was being held on charges of armed robbery, theft, disorderly conduct with bond set at $50,300, according to jail staff.
The robbery suspect may have told bank staff that he was armed, according to initial reports. Speaking last Thursday, Bermudez couldn’t confirm if that were true, but he said police hadn’t found any weapon in Maytorena’s posession.
And as of Friday, they hadn’t found the cash he allegedly stole, either.
“At this point in time, the money taken from the bank has not been recovered, but the investigation in an attempt to recover the cash is still ongoing,” the NPD news release said.