Main Place Mall Bank Robber Foiled By Tracking Device

If FBI agents are right, Fernando Vera Santamaria didn't know that a Bank of America teller gave him a tracking device as well as $2,369 after he handed her a demand note and then fled on July 24, 2012.

Santa Ana Police Department officers quickly tracked Santamaria to a white Toyota Corolla driving southbound on the 55 freeway in Costa Mesa, according to law enforcement records.

But their efforts to get the suspect to stop failed.

Santamarie lead the cops to side streets and then to the southbound 405 freeway.

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At Bake Parkway exit in Irvine, officers deployed a spike strip, which popped tires on the getaway vehicle.

Yet, Santamaria, who was born in 1985 and lived in Corona, still refused to stop.

In Lake Forest, a cop rammed his patrol car into the disabled Toyota and took the alleged robber into custody.

Santamaria voluntarily told officers that a newspaper article about a previous heist inspired him to rob a bank after his wife left him and he fell into financial despair, according to an arrest report.

Assistant United States Attorney Mark P. Takla is scheduled to handle prosecution duties.

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