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A former San Jose police officer who faced layoffs this summer was reinstated to full duty this week after he helped nab three men in connection with two armed bank robberies in San Jose. Officer Michael Nasser had voluntarily left the force to join another law enforcement agency in anticipation of being laid off. But Tuesday at about 1:30 p.m., Nasser spotted the three masked men dashing into a Wells Fargo branch on Santa Teresa Boulevard.
The suspects robbed roughly $7,000 from the bank, located at 6990 Santa Teresa Blvd., before fleeing on foot, police said. Nasser saw the men fleeing and ran a check on their license plate number. It turned out that the vehicle was registered to a residence on Homestead Avenue in Salinas, police said. Detectives responded to the bank and alerted the Salinas Police Department. Shortly thereafter, Salinas officers found the suspect vehicle at the Homestead Avenue address and conducted a high-risk car stop.
Officers apprehended the suspects and alerted San Jose detectives who responded and took all three suspects into custody. Inside their vehicle, detectives allegedly found evidence implicating the suspects in the robbery, police said. The Police Department announced this week that Nasser was reinstated to full duty Thursday.
All three suspects — Bryan Chavez, 20, of Marina, Jonathan Nathaniel Garcia, 23, and Jose Luis Lemus, 20, both of Salinas — were booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of armed robbery. The first robbery occurred at about 2 p.m. on Monday at the Union Bank located at 1700 The Alameda. Police said two masked men entered the bank, took several hundred dollars in cash at gunpoint and then jumped into a waiting vehicle driven by a third suspect.
No one was injured in the course of the robberies, police said. Detectives are investigating whether the suspects were involved in additional robberies. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Todd Jennings at (408) 277-4166.
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