Accused Bank Robber Not in Custody

By: Auburn Hutton
By: Auburn Hutton

A man accused of robbing three local banks in recent months is back on the streets tonight.

A federal judge released 29-year-old Andrew Valero on his own recognizance, despite allegations that he's a serial bank robber. Valero was only in custody for six hours after being arrested by Reno police.

Judge Valerie Cook decided to release him, even though he's been linked to three local bank robberies.

"I think it's ridiculous. They shouldn't have let him out. Now we have someone supposedly running the streets around here," said Valero's neighbor Chris Grover.

Valero is accused of three bank hold-ups. In December, police say he simulated a weapon and robbed a Bank of America on Oddie Boulevard. Just a month later, he allegedly hit the US Bank on Kietzke. RPD officials say his luck finally ran out on Monday when he was arrested for robbing the US Bank on Vassar Street.

"He wore a band-aid over his nose at all three robberies, which is how we linked him, as well as the physical description," said Detective Ron Chalmers of Reno Police Department.

Although Valero is innocent until proven guilty, Detective Chalmers thinks the police have a pretty good case against him, and in Chalmers opinion, Valero's release wasn't justified.

"He has a beautiful ten month old baby and that's very tragic, but when you look at risks to our community and the risk to every employee and patron in the bank when he comes in claiming he has a firearm, simulating a firearm, that's a dangerous situation. I feel as a police officer and as a citizen of the community, I would expect a person of that caliber to be in the Washoe County Jail."

Valero's neighbors say, until Valero is behind bars, their family neighborhood just won't be the same.

"I'll be keeping an eye out, as well as all the neighbors. It's a very quiet neighborhood and we don't need people like that around here," said Grover.

While citizens are questioning Judge Cooke's decision to release a potentially dangerous suspect, the judge declined to comment on why she let him go.


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