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Press Release


For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Bank Robber Allegedly Wore “Chewbacca” Mask and Carried a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

OAKLAND – A federal complaint charges Jose Miguel Rodriguez Montano with committing bank robbery and using, carrying, and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. 

According to the complaint, filed on March 6, 2020, Montano entered a Comerica Bank in San Leandro on January 7, 2020, and repeatedly demanded that a bank employee at a teller window give him money.  The robber was wearing a Chewbacca mask to disguise his identity and was carrying a shotgun inside a tennis racket case.  The teller passed Montano bundles of cash in response to his demands, an amount later calculated to be $35,990.  As the robber exited the bank, surveillance cameras filmed the shotgun falling out of the tennis racket case as the robber caught it and carried it out of the building.  

The complaint describes features of the investigation that led to Montano’s arrest.  Significantly, surveillance cameras inside and outside the bank, as well as from local businesses, captured many of the robber’s movements including the arrival of a car at a nearby parking lot prior to the robbery and the departure of the car shortly after the robbery.  Additional investigation led to the identity of the car owner and recovery of several items that resembled the items used by the robber during the theft. 

The complaint charges Montano with bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113, and using, carrying, and possessing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The maximum penalty defendant faces upon conviction for the bank robbery charge is 20 years’ imprisonment.  Further, upon conviction, the maximum penalty Montano faces for using, carrying or possessing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence is life imprisonment, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment.  Additionally, periods of supervised release, fines, forfeitures, and special assessments also could be imposed.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Montano made his initial federal court appearance on the charges before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu. Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu ordered defendant Montano to appear on March 13, 2020, for a status hearing regarding detention and arraignment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas R. Green is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Kay Konopaske.  The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation by the FBI and the San Leandro Police Department.

Updated March 11, 2020

Violent Crime