Two men who may have perpetrated two Marana bank robberies have been arrested and charged after a Dec. 23 robbery at Tangerine and Thornydale in which a Marana Police Department officer fired shots, wounding one of the suspects.

Dan Snider, 34, of Sierra Vista and Jacob Villescas, 32, of Tucson, face two counts each of armed robbery and of aggravated robbery in connection with the Dec. 23 crime at Chase Bank, 12025 N. Thornydale, and for the Dec. 17 robbery of Canyon Community Bank, 8631 N. Silverbell.

Snider and Villescas are “possibly responsible for several other robberies in Pima County,” said MPD spokesman Sgt. Tim Brunenkant. Detectives from several agencies are working together on those cases.

Just before 6 p.m. last Thursday, a Chase Bank employee called 911 to notify police of an armed robbery in progress.

MPD Officer Robert Derfus, a canine officer with the force, was in the area. He parked outside the bank, and saw the suspect inside. Derfus waited for Snider to exit the bank, then confronted him.

“The subject had gone for his weapon,” later identified as a handgun, “and the officer drew his weapon and shot at the suspect,” Brunenkant said. Snider was not wounded.

As that happened, the driver of a getaway vehicle drove up, “posing a threat to Officer Derfus, so he fired at the car and struck the driver,” Brunenkant said. Villescas was hit in the arm. He drove off, and crashed nearby. “We located him within minutes,” and Villescas was taken to a hospital, Brunenkant said.

Snider took off on foot. Law enforcement searched the area on the ground, with dogs, and from the air with a Border Patrol helicopter and a Pima County Sheriff’s Department fixed-wing aircraft. “We were unable to locate him after several hours,” Brunenkant said.

Early the morning of Christmas Eve, Snider was found in a parking lot at Silverbell and Grant, and police took him into custody. He did not resist arrest at that time.

The Chase Bank and Canyon Bank robberies had similarities, Brunenkant said. For example, both occurred around closing time, and tellers were confronted in each instance. Based upon interviews and clothing descriptions, both men now face charges in each crime.

As part of standard procedure, Derfus is on administrative leave because he fired his weapon, Brunenkant said. Pima County Sheriff’s Department detectives are assisting the MPD “with the officer-involved shooting aspect of the case,” a sheriff’s spokesman said Friday. Marana remains the lead agency in the robberies.

Sheriff’s detectives collected evidence from the scene, and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department impounded the vehicle. As evidence is processed, it is being turned over to the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

No clear links between OV drive-up, Marana robberies

Two robberies at the drive-up of an Oro Valley bank remain unsolved, and evidence suggests they have no correlation with two bank robberies in Marana, according to an Oro Valley Police Department spokeswoman.

There is no new information on the ATM robberies, spokeswoman Liz Wright said, and the robberies remain under investigation.

Operating modes were different in the crimes. In Marana, suspects entered the lobby of banks near closing time, and demanded money from tellers. In Oro Valley, victims were robbed at drive-up automated teller machines.

Near 11:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13, Oro Valley Police responded to the report of an armed robbery at Wells Fargo’s 550 E. Tangerine Road location.

At the drive-up automated teller machine, a male suspect armed with a handgun and wearing a black bandana across his face demanded money from a victim. He was given an undisclosed amount of money, but the victim would not give him the ATM card. The suspect fired the gun at the vehicle, then fled. The victim was not injured.

That robbery was the second at that location in two weeks.

Wright said the ATM robberies suggest people should think twice about nighttime, drive-up banking.

“If you don’t have to bank at night, I would stick to the daytime,” Wright said. “You need to be alert, and know that people are out there sometimes proving to be desperate.

“It’s better not to put yourself in a position that potentially could be dangerous,” Wright continued. And, if you do go to a bank, “be with somebody.”

Oro Valley Police continue to seek information. People may call 911 or 88-crime.

— Dave Perry

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