Robbery suspect headed for district court

Snowboarder Steven Simmons, accused of taking $4,807 from the Minden Bank of America branch at gunpoint nearly a year ago, is headed for District Court on five felony charges in connection with the robbery.

After a two-day preliminary hearing, East Fork Justice Jim EnEarl ruled Friday there was enough evidence to conclude the robbery took place and probable cause that Simmons was the suspect.

EnEarl dropped one charge of assault with a deadly weapon after a bank teller testified that the suspect did not point a loaded Glock handgun at her.

Simmons, 27, of Mammoth Lakes, is charged with robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm with the serial number changed, altered, removed or obliterated, and grand larceny.

Bank teller Jessica Moseley testified Friday she was working at the customer counter close to 5 p.m., Nov. 22, 2005, "when a man, dressed all in black ran in with a gun, clicked it or loaded it, jumped over the counter and told us he was not kidding."

She said the last customer had just left when the robber ran in.

Moseley said at first, she and teller Donna Kruger didn't believe the suspect was going to rob the bank.

"It was too surreal. He didn't look like he was going to rob a bank," Moseley said.

She said Kruger asked the man what he was doing.

"He said, 'This is a robbery. I'm not kidding,'" Moseley testified. "He said it loud enough to get our attention. He started a countdown - 5-4-3-2 -. He never got to 1."

She said he pulled the gun's slide back and loaded a round in the chamber.

"He did this," she said, pointing her hand in the air. "The next thing I saw, he had pointed the gun at Donna's head. He was maybe a foot away from her."

Moseley said the suspect ordered employees not to set off an alarm, but she had already pushed the silent alarm which alerted the sheriff's office.

She said the robber was dressed in black except for white tennis shoes with neon green laces. He was wearing what she described as a ski mask, but she could see his eyes.

The robber had a white trash bag and took money from Kruger's cash drawer.

She said there were two drawers between her and Kruger that they couldn't open because they didn't have keys.

"I just told him, 'I have money over here.' He was getting mad," Moseley said.

She testified that the robber did not speak to her.

She believed he was in his mid-20s from the sound of his voice and his agility in leaping over the counters.

He apologized as he ran out.

"He said, 'Believe me, I don't want to do this. It isn't any fun,'" Moseley said.

Douglas County sheriff's investigator Anthony Field testified the 9 mm Glock handgun was loaded with 13 rounds of ammunition. He said the serial numbers had been ground off the weapon.

Alba Gonzalez of South Lake Tahoe testified that she met Simmons first met Simmons at a Stateline casino a month before the robbery and saw him several times in October and November.

He called her the night before the robbery and said it was "important, that he needed to see me," she testified.

Gonzalez said they met up at Bill's Casino and Simmons and a friend spent the night at her house.

She said he was driving his own car even though a deputy testified that Simmons said he hitchhiked to Carson Valley from Mammoth Lakes and didn't know where his car was.

She said Simmons was still at her home when she left for her second job at 2 p.m. the day of the robbery.

"He was acting weird, like something was wrong. He was acting nervous," Gonzalez said.

Simmons was arrested about 45 minutes after the robbery hiding in a dog crate at a home on Belarra Drive in the upscale Mackland subdivision which is behind the bank branch.

The suspect never fired the weapon and no one was injured. The money was recovered in a backpack along with several other items including clothing, the weapon, and ski goggles.

He has been in Douglas County Jail on $250,000 bail since the robbery.

EnEarl ordered Simmons to appear before District Court Judge Michael Gibbons on Sept. 18.

EnEarl agreed with Simmons' lawyer Terri Roeser that a charge that the suspect allegedly pointed the gun at Moseley was unwarranted.

If convicted of all charges, Simmons would face nearly 50 years in prison, depending on whether the sentences are served concurrently or consecutively.

He could still face federal bank robbery charges.


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