FBI: Colusa bank robbery suspect arrested in Chico
The FBI has told Colusa police that a man arrested in Chico Thursday afternoon in connection to a bank robbery in Corning, is probably the suspect in the local US Bank heist as well.
"The FBI is confident he is our man," Colusa Police Chief Ross Stark said Friday.
Gary Belcher, 57, of Chico, and Emily Clark, 36, of Willows, were arrested at about 4 p.m. in Chico after being spotted driving in disguises that matched those worn by two people who had fled a US Bank earlier, the Chico police reported.
Belcher was arrested with a loaded handgun in his possession and later identified by detectives as the suspect in the Corning bank robbery, Chico police Sgt. Rob Merrifield said.
Merrifield reported that two people wearing disguises walked into the US Bank in Chico about 2:30 p.m. A bank employee, familiar with the Colusa robbery, alerted the bank manager, who then approached the couple.
The two people fled the bank, and the manager called the police.
Chico Police Officer Scott Harris noticed a tan Chevy Tahoe leaving the area of the Save Mart supermarket on West East Avenue.
Merrifield said the officer noticed that the driver was a female wearing a black wig and sunglasses, and that the male sitting in the passenger seat was wearing a red ball cap and sunglasses.
Harris recalled a similar vehicle was believed to be used during the bank robbery in Corning, Merrifield said.
The officer followed the vehicle eastbound until it reached East Avenue and Cohasset Road, and made the traffic stop on the vehicle in the Walgreens parking lot.
When backup officers arrived, Harris asked the occupants to step out of the vehicle. As Belcher opened the passenger door, a loaded semi-automatic handgun fell to the ground, Merrifield said.
Clark was later identified by detectives as the suspect in the Dollar Tree robbery on Sept. 4, when she reportedly walked into the store shortly before 8 p.m., pulled a semi-automatic handgun from her purse and made off with an undisclosed amount of money.
Belcher had reportedly walked into the Corning bank around 2:15 p.m. Monday, approached a teller, displayed a handgun and ordered her to put money into a white plastic bag he provided.
He left the bank and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.
It was a similar scenario to the Aug. 31 robbery in Colusa, when a man walked up to a teller, displayed a semi-automatic handgun and demanded money be put into a bag he brought with him.
He fled through a back door and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.
The bank robbery suspects matched the same a general description, Colusa police had reported.
In addition to the bank robberies in Corning and Colusa, the FBI is also trying to determine if Clark and Belcher are responsible for other robberies in the area, including the attempted robbery of a fast-food restaurant in Yuba City.
A tan Chevy Tahoe was reportedly used in the Yuba City incident as well, officials said.