A disguised man who tried to rob a Bank of America in Burlingame and a year later returned to rob the same bank pleaded no contest Tuesday to bank robbery charges, prosecutors said. Mitchell Garcia, 58, of San Mateo wore fake dreadlocks, a knit cap and a fake mustache that kept falling off of his face when he tried to rob the Bank of America at 400 El Camino Real at about 1:20 p.m. on April 24, 2013, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
Garcia passed the teller a note demanding $3,000 in cash and warning that if he saw a cop, he would kill her and then himself. He showed her the butt of a gun in his waistband, prosecutors said. The teller pushed the silent alarm as she gathered the cash and tried to push it through the window to Garcia, according to prosecutors. But a manager approached and Garcia left, leaving the note and cash behind.
Police found the wig, hat and mustache by a fence outside of the bank. Garcia remained at large until the following July. Investigators obtained a warrant for his arrest after he returned to rob the same bank. At about 12:40 p.m. on July 5, 2014, he returned to the bank wearing a female disguise including sunglasses, a green cap, multi-colored shirt, and what appeared to be a woman’s frilly blue scarf around his neck.
He passed an envelope with four pink flashcards to a teller saying he had a bomb and a gun, then showed the teller a black-and-white plastic device that emitted flashing green lights. The teller handed him $5,565 and he ran from the bank, prosecutors said. After getting a DNA match from the first robbery, investigators obtained a warrant for Garcia’s arrest. He was arrested later that month in a residential hotel in San Francisco, according to Burlingame police. On Tuesday, Garcia pleaded no contest to felony attempted robbery and felony robbery.
He faces a maximum sentence of 5 years and 8 months in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 25, but the court will consider probation and a commitment to a residential drug treatment program, prosecutors said.
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