Update: Atascadero bank robbery suspect pleads no contest
Update posted May 5, 2015: Suspect changes plea. Will receive 25 years to life in prison
Atascadero bank robbery suspect George Jessie Gonzales of Santa Maria changed his plea to no contest Tuesday, with respect to three counts of bank robberies, the San Luis Obispo District Attorney reports. According to reports, his prior plea was not guilty.
The robberies were alleged to have been committed April 17, 2014, April 3, 2014, and March 21, 2014. Gonzales was found hiding in the trunk of Tonya Young’s car in the area of Chase Bank after it was robbed in April 2014. Young pleaded no contest to second-degree robbery last year and in July was sentenced to three years in state prison, according to reports.
Mr. Gonzales also admitted two “strike” prior convictions, the DA reports.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, the DA said that he will be sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. The remaining charges were dismissed, the DA said.
Sentencing has been set for July 13, 2015, in Superior Court Department 4 before Judge Jacquelyn Duffy.
Update posted April 22, 2014: Atascadero Police Department release name of second robbery suspect
At the time of the preliminary press release the names of two individuals who were contacted and subsequently arrested by the Atascadero Police Department were not available. There were two suspects contacted and placed under arrest for the robbery of Chase Bank in Atascadero on April 17.
The subject who entered the bank and was subsequently arrested after a short standoff with police had previously been identified as George Jesie Gonzales, 55, of Santa Maria. The second subject, seen driving the vehicle, has been identified as Tonya Michelle Young, 33, of Paso Robles. Both subjects were booked at SLO County Jail for robbery.
Atascadero police responded to a robbery in progress Thursday at 5:21 p.m. The incident occurred at Chase Bank at 8055 El Camino Real. Police responded and stopped a car matching a witness’s description. A standoff began with officers surrounding the car at gunpoint, according to reports.
Police arrested a male robbery suspect hiding in the trunk of the suspected getaway car and the female driver, according to reports.
George Jessie Gonzales, 55, was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail Thursday night for robbery. He is described as 5′-9″, 153 lbs., with gray hair and brown eyes. He is being held on $60,000 bail. SLO County Sheriff’s are not releasing the suspect’s booking photo at the request of the Atascadero Police Department, according to Tony Cipolla, public information officer with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. There was no information available on the female driver.
Authorities believe the robbery may be related to two others earlier this year. On March 21, a Bank of America in Pismo Beach was robbed, and on April 3, a Bank of America in Arroyo Grande was hit.
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