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Police, citizen help nab suspected bank robbers on spree

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Feb 2nd, 2013 @ 6:36pm

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WEST VALLEY CITY — Two teens were arrested Saturday in connection with a series of bank robberies over the past 48 hours in Salt Lake County's west side.

Pete Mafua, 19, of West Valley, and Taumafakav Tuifua, 18, of West Valley, were arrested for investigation of four bank robberies or attempted robberies since Friday. The latest incident happened about 1 p.m. Saturday at U.S. Bank, 4135 S. Redwood Road. A man walked in and handed the teller a note that demanded money and insinuated that he also had a gun, said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal.

The man left and got into a waiting green Pontiac Grand Am. A witness, however, followed the car to a residence at 1618 W. Shelly Ave. (2870 South). UPD already had extra officers in the area because of an earlier bank robbery. Hoyal said they quickly responded to Shelly Ave. and set up a containment around the house. Four people were eventually talked into coming out and surrendering, Hoyal said.

All four were questioned by investigators. Mafua was identified as the main suspect and was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on a federal hold for investigation of bank robbery. Tuifua was arrested for investigation of two counts of aggravated robbery and obstructing justice. The other two were released.

The duo's alleged crime spree began at First Utah Bank, 4900 West 3500 South. A man walked in about 10 a.m. Friday and told the teller he needed money, according to West Valley Police Sgt. Jason Hauer.

"She asked for his account number. He said, 'No I just need money,'" Hauer said.

After a bank manager was called over, the man left without any cash.

About 1:30 p.m. Friday, a man matching the description from the previous incident entered Zion's Bank, 8375 W. 3500 South. This time he presented a note demanding money and claimed to have a weapon, Hoyal said. A green Pontiac Grand Am was seen driving away from the scene.

About 10 a.m. Saturday, a similar scenario happened at America First Credit Union, 4976 W. 3500 South. A man handed the teller a note demanding money and claiming he had a weapon. He also left in a waiting green Pointiac Grand Am.


Pat Reavy

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