Bank robbery suspect set for court proceedings
This time, it is Colusa County's turn to wait as Tehama County and the US Attorney's Office discuss what to do with a man who reportedly confessed to robbing banks in both counties.
In the meantime, Gary Dean Belcher, 57, of Chico, has been charged with robbing the Bank of America and a Subway restaurant in Corning, as well as attempting to rob the Chevron Station at the nearby Rolling Hills Casino.
Belcher has pleaded not guilty to the crimes, which have the added enhancement on each count of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Belcher is scheduled to appear in Tehama County Superior Court on Tuesday for a pretrial conference and then Oct. 10 for a preliminary hearing.
Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen said he has been in touch with the US Attorney's Office discussing the potential for federal prosecution.
"Until I hear further from them, we will continue to prosecute this case locally," he said.
Belcher reportedly told Corning police investigators while being transported from Butte County Jail to Tehama County Jail that he robbed the Bank of America on Sept. 10, and the US Bank in Colusa on Aug. 31, Corning police Chief Don Atkins said.
Atkins said Belcher also confessed to robbing the Subway shop on July 25, and to robbing the Chevron station on Aug. 23.
Atkins said Belcher repeated the information during interviews at the Tehama County Jail the night he was arrested. If it all sounds familiar, it should.
The US Bank was also robbed on March 8, 2011, and an Umpqua Bank in the Tehama County town of Los Molinos had been robbed six days earlier.
It was the Colusa police who first got their hands on Michael Taylor at his Chico home on March 9.
Taylor confessed to investigators at the time of his arrest, and appeared to confess when he apologized for what he did during an arraignment in Colusa County Superior Court.
Eventually, Taylor's cases in Colusa and Tehama counties were combined under a single federal indictment.
Taylor was sentenced in to five years in federal prison in September 2011.
Belcher was arrested on Sept. 13 along with Emily Clark, 36, of Willows. She is being charged in Butte County on suspicion of armed robbery of a Dollar Store on Sept. 4.
The couple were suspected of being the same two people who entered a Chico bank wearing disguises that same afternoon.
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, stopped at a Walgreen's store at East and Cohasset streets.
A similar vehicle was used during the Corning bank robbery, police said.
Belcher was arrested with a loaded handgun in his possession, and was later identified by detectives as the suspect in the Corning bank robbery, Chico police reported.