Guadalupe Mercado Fajardo (left) and Douglas Mark Ybarra have been
identified as two of the three suspects.
RICHARDSON, Texas – At least three bandits armed with assault rifles remained
at large Friday after a Thursday morning robbery of a Richardson bank
that left police cars riddled with bullets and three motorists carjacked
during the getaway.
Authorities have identified two suspects as Guadalupe Mercado Fajardo
and Douglas Mark Ybarra, both 31. They said they did not know the
identity of the third man.
"I think now that the two suspects have been identified it will aid us,”
Richardson police Sgt. Keith Cannon said Friday. “I think we're in a lot
better shape than we were before."
No one was seriously injured in the melee that sent startled bystanders
ducking for cover as gunmen shot up at least five squad cars before
officers lost them in southeast Plano.
Richardson police said two masked men entered American First National
Bank on Greenville Avenue just after 10 a.m. and ordered everyone to lie
on the floor while they jumped over counters and emptied cash drawers.
The robbers fled with an undisclosed amount of money. A Richardson
police officer was slightly injured later by flying glass when they
fired on his car.
"It tells you how dangerous and desperate these individuals are to get
away," Richardson police Sgt. Kevin Perlich said.
The search for the robbers focused Thursday night on Wylie. A stolen
Mazda believed to be linked to the bandits was found abandoned there
around noon. Police say they may have fled in a beige 1994 Honda Accord
reported stolen Thursday in Wylie. That car had Texas license plate P76
On Friday, Sgt. Cannon said it was unlikely the robbers were still in
the Honda. “I can nearly guarantee that they have switched cars at this
point, since they've done it so many times," he said.
FBI investigators strongly suspect the robbers are the Takeover Bandits,
said Special Agent Lori Bailey, a spokeswoman in the bureau's Dallas
The group is suspected in more than 60 aggravated robberies of banks,
small businesses, convenience stores and restaurants throughout the area
in recent years.
"I can't remember any group, since I've been here, that has gone on such
an elongated crime spree," Agent Bailey said.
Richardson police said they received a call at 10:20 a.m. about a
possible bank robbery just blocks from their headquarters.
'It happened so fast'
Investigators from the Richardson Police Department mark evidence at
the scene of the shootout. (Photo by J. D. Vega/Special Contributor)
Tom Huang, a Dallas businessman, said the holdup unfolded as he stood at
a service desk. Two masked men with guns walked into the lobby.
"They came in and shouted, 'Give me the money!' Someone told the teller
to open the cash drawer. Then they told everyone to lie down on the
floor and don't move."
Mr. Huang said about five bank employees and a security guard were in
the bank, besides himself.
"It happened so fast. They came and were gone in less than five
minutes," Mr. Huang said Thursday afternoon. "It was very scary. It took
me about a half-hour to calm down."
Witnesses told Richardson police the suspects, armed with handguns and
"AK-47-style" assault rifles, fled the bank in a dark-colored Honda. The
car, which police say had been stolen, was found nearby on Terrace
Drive. Police say they switched there to a second car, a red Chevrolet
Suburban that may also have been stolen.
Driving north on U.S. Highway 75, the robbers opened fire on an off-duty
Richardson police officer who, unaware of their presence, was driving
behind them in an unmarked car. As the suspects turned east on Plano
Parkway, they shot at a second Richardson squad car, slightly injuring
the officer who had joined the chase.
Minutes later, the bandits carjacked a white Chevrolet pickup truck at
Summit and Stewart avenues. A block away, at Jupiter Road and Summit,
the driver ran a red light, striking a Pontiac Grand Prix and forcing
the gunmen to hunt for a new getaway car.
Jason Brock, on a mid-morning coffee break, said he watched the action
unfold as at least one man opened fire on a police car as it arrived at
Herb Gloff, another witness, said the men were yelling at each other in
"I heard a burst of about 10 shots at first," Mr. Gloff said. "It was
Authorities said police did not return fire because they didn't have a
clear shot and didn't want to injure innocent people.
Tonya Harvey and her co-workers at Electronic Environments Corp. watched
the exchange from inside their building.
It looked like "every police officer in Richardson and Plano was after
them," she said.
Stephanie Mitchell hid from the suspects and their "Rambo-looking guns"
behind her truck in a nearby parking lot. "I just tried to get further
and further away from them," she said.
When she made it inside the North Central Texas Workforce office nearby,
she was shaking all over. "My biggest fear was they were going to come
in here," she said from the office's lobby.
The gunmen tried to hijack a Hyundai. The car, occupied by a mother and
her baby, was blocked, police said, so the robbers stole and fled in a
gray Mazda, firing on a Plano squad car.
John Childress said people were running toward the building where he
works, including the mother and baby who escaped the carjacking.
"She was freaking out," he said. "She was shaking." She was worried that
the suspects would find her identification left behind and go after her.
Mr. Childress said he told her, "You've got your life. That's all you
need to worry about."
Police said four Richardson police cars and one Plano cruiser were hit
by gunfire. The Plano car left the chase at Jupiter and Summit with its
rear window shattered and bullet holes in its windshield and hood.
The bandits escaped after driving over fields, across road medians and
through side streets of an industrial park.
"Somehow, they eluded us," Sgt. Perlich said. The getaway car was last
reported driving east on 14th Street near Los Rios Boulevard.
Officers converged at the intersection. And with the curious watching
from a grocery store parking lot and three helicopters circling
overhead, eight armor-vested officers carrying assault rifles fanned
across a field. Others stood along a railroad track or waited in
Stacy Clark of Farmersville was headed west on 14th when the action
unfolded in front of her. "It was frightening because we didn't know
what was going on," she said. "We were stuck at the light, and they had
all those machine guns.
"I thought it was a terrorist thing. It seemed major."
Staff writers Roy Appleton, Tim Wyatt, Tiara M. Ellis, Mike Jackson,
Linda Stewart Ball, Lee Powell, Matt Stiles, Esther Wu, Jennifer Emily
and Holly Yan and Dallas Web staff writer April Kinser contributed to