The suspect in the Manteca BBVA Bank robbery Tuesday is believed to have robbed another bank of the same name in Stockton an hour later before being shot after a brief chase on Highway 99.
He was tripped up after passing a Stockton motorcycle officer traveling south through Ripon at a high rate of speed. The officer — going home on his police issued motorcycle initiated a pursuit that ended in gunfire. The suspect also allegedly robbed an Oakdale bank Monday
The robber — dressed in all black including a black hat and glasses —had walked into the Manteca bank’s west door at Main and Center streets shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday, making contact with a teller. He gave her a note that said he had a bomb in his backpack.
As he ran out the door, he left a trail of money in the bank parking lot, according to Manteca Police Sgt. Joe Aguilar. He continued to flee to the north and down the alley. Manteca officers collected a large amount of cash and returned it to the bank.
The suspect was described as a white or Hispanic male adult about 30 to 40 years old, standing 5-foot-6 with a slender build and thinning hair and goatee with a large mole on his cheek wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.
It was about an hour later, at about 5 p.m. that a similar suspect, believed to be the Manteca robber, walked into the BBVA Bank on West Lane in Stockton and threatened the bank staffer with a bomb that he supposedly carried in his backpack. Police said the teller handed the suspect an undetermined amount of cash and the man left the bank and got into a white Ford or Saturn hatchback and fled north on Interstate 5.
It was around 10 p.m. Tuesday Stockton Police motorcycle officer Brian Breckenridge was off duty riding home on southbound Highway 99 when he recognized the suspect’s vehicle, seen earlier at the Stockton robbery, pass him at a high rate of speed on Highway 99 in the Ripon area.
The officer gave pursuit with lights and siren into Stanislaus County with the vehicle crashing and rolling over south of Hammet Road. Police say when Breckenridge pulled up to the vehicle, the driver, later identified as Jessie Bryant, 27, of Turlock, exited his car and pointed a gun at the officer. The officer fired in his own defense and hit Bryant once causing non life-threatening injuries that sent him to a hospital. A 27-year-old passenger in Bryant’s vehicle was also transported to an area hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash.
Working the crime scene throughout the night in a county-wide protocol, Sheriff’s officers, investigators with the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office and the California Highway Patrol processed the scene and interviewed witnesses. The roadway was opened some seven hours later.
Stockton Police detectives reportedly discovered a replica firearm in the man’s vehicle. Bryant was arrested and charged with evading a peace officer, brandishing a weapon and having a parole violation. The passenger was not arrested, officers said.
Oakdale investigators believed that the same robbery suspect was connected with a robbery of the Valley First Credit Union in their city on Monday. Oakdale Police Lt. Keri Redd said her agency had forwarded photos from the Valley First Credit Union to the FBI on Tuesday saying she felt that the robbery was possibly connected to a similar bank robbery in Ceres.
It was during the Oakdale robbery on Monday that investigators were able to obtain surveillance photos from the area including one which captured the suspect’s white hatchback leaving the scene from a nearby doctor’s office. The car did not belong to employees or anyone visiting the office, police said.
The video footage showed the vehicle was a late model ‘90s Saturn with front end damage that was the information that the motorcycle officer used in recognizing the robbery vehicle he chased through Ripon.
Stockton detectives working with the FBI at said they believed the same individual committed the bank robbery in Manteca and was responsible for several other similar robberies in the area including Oakdale and Turlock
Lt. Redd said investigators from various police agencies met with the FBI Wednesday at the Stockton Police Department and noted that the investigations are continuing
Stockton Police spokesman Officer Joe Silva said Breckenridge is a 19-year-veteran of his department assigned to the traffic unit allowing him to take his motorcycle home after his shift. Breckenridge was placed on three days administrative leave which is standard in any police-involved shooting.