Armed bank robbery suspect pleads guilty
The Chico man who is the primary suspect in the armed robbery of the US Bank in Colusa in August, has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree burglary in Tehama County.
Gary Dean Belcher, 57, a former Willows resident, entered the pleas as part of a deal with the Tehama District Attorney's Office.
A special allegation of using a firearm in the commission of a robbery is attached to each burglary count.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, and is facing 16 years in prison.
Belcher admitted to robbing the Bank of America in Corning on Sept. 10, and the Subway shop on July 25. He used a handgun in each crime.
He also attempted to rob the Chevron gas station at Rolling Hills Casino, but that was one of the charges dropped as part of the deal.
Belcher was arrested in Chico with Emily Clark, 36, of Willows, on Sept. 13.
After his arrest, Belcher told Corning police investigators while being transported back to Tehama County Jail that he robbed the Bank of America.
Corning police Chief Don Atkins said Belcher also confessed to robbing the Subway shop and trying to rob the Chevron station on Aug. 23.
Additionally, Belcher is said to have confessed to robbing the US Bank in Colusa on Aug. 31.
District Attorney John Poyner was out of the office Friday afternoon, so it is uncertain what if any plans he has for Belcher now.
Poyner had been waiting for Tehama County to finish its case first.
Belcher and Clark were suspected of being the same people who entered a Chico bank wearing disguises on the day of their arrest.
A bank employee familiar with the Colusa robbery, told the bank manager and when he confronted the couple, they fled, police said.
Belcher and Clark were spotted by a Chico police officer in a tan Chevrolet Tahoe, still wearing disguises that matched those of the couple in the bank, and stopped at in Walgreen's sparking lot at East and Cohasset streets.
Belcher was arrested with a loaded handgun in his possession.
Belcher walked into the Corning bank around 2:15 p.m. on Sept. 10, approached a teller, displayed a handgun and ordered her to put money into a white plastic bag, police said.
That scenario was very similar to the Colusa robbery, in which a man approached a teller, displayed a semi-automatic handgun, then demanded money be put into a bag he provided.
In each case, the robber escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.
The case was also similar to two bank robberies that happened in Colusa and Tehama counties in March of 2011.
Again it was the US Bank in Colusa that had been robbed. An Umpqua bank in Los Molinos was hit in Tehama County.
Michael Taylor of Chico pleaded guilty to a combined charge in federal court and received a five-year sentence.
He got away with about $13,504, which officials said he gambled away at area tribal casinos.
What Belcher did with the money he stole in unknown. Officials said he does have a history of drug use.
Clark is scheduled to go to trial in Butte County on Monday on a charge of armed robbery of a Dollar Store on Sept. 4.