ALBUQUERQUE—United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that Eric Schlenker, 43, has been charged with robbing a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on February 12, 2011. Schlenker appeared before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Richard L. Puglisi this morning on a criminal complaint charging him with bank robbery. If convicted, Schlenker faces a maximum 20-year term of imprisonment. He remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for February 22, 2011.
Schlenker, a resident of Las Vegas, New Mexico, was arrested on February 17, 2011 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Santa Fe Police Department (SFPD). According to the criminal complaint, on the morning of February 12, 2011, the FBI and SFPD responded to a report that the Wells Fargo Bank branch located inside the Albertsons Grocery Store at 3001 St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe (bank) had been robbed. Bank employees reported that a male subject handed a bank teller a note demanding cash and stating that he was armed. They further reported that the subject verbally demanded cash from two bank tellers and told them he had a gun. After the two bank tellers gave the subject the money in their drawers, the suspect departed the bank on foot.
The complaint alleges that, on February 17, 2011, Schlenker’s former girlfriend notified the FBI and SFPD that, while shopping at the Albertsons with Schlenker a few weeks before, Schlenker told her that it would be easy to rob the bank located in that store. The former girlfriend also reported that, in the week following the robbery at the bank, Schlenker claimed to have money despite the fact that he was unemployed. Thereafter, the former girlfriend identified Schlenker from a still photograph of the bank robber taken by a surveillance video camera when the bank was robbed on February 12, 2011.
As alleged in the complaint, the former girlfriend assisted the FBI and SFPD by setting up a meeting with Schlenker. When an FBI agent and an SFPD officer arrived at the pre-arranged meeting location, they approached a man matching Schlenker’s description and identified themselves as law enforcement officers. Schlenker responded by fleeing but was apprehended by the FBI agent and SFPD officer after a brief foot chase. Following Schlenker’s arrest, the two victim bank tellers identified Schlenker as the man who robbed the Bank on February 12, 2011.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paige Messec and was investigated by the FBI and SFPD.