Suspect is charged in
bank robbery attempt

The man apparently was recognized
as a former relief teller

A 20-year-old Mapunapuna man arrested Tuesday for an alleged attempted bank robbery in December apparently was recognized as a former relief teller.

Froilan Avellano Luga was arrested and charged in U.S. District Court with the Dec. 31 attempted robbery of City Bank's main branch on Merchant Street.

At a detention hearing yesterday, federal Magistrate Leslie Kobayashi allowed Luga, who is is being held at the federal detention center, to be released to Miller Hale, a halfway house, but not until bed space opens.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edric Ching opposed Luga's release, citing concerns that he is not a U.S. citizen, has foreign ties and is alleged to have threatened a teller with the use of a gun.

According to court documents, a man later identified as Luga approached the teller and handed her a note that said: "If you don't want me to shoot you, give me $10,000 from your bottom drawer. If you push your alarm button under your window, I will shoot and don't tell anyone."

The teller handed over $7,000 from her cash drawer, but he refused it and told her she needed to give him $10,000, according to an affidavit filed by Honolulu police Detective Derrick Kiyotoki.

The teller went to the vault and told another employee what was going on and was told to tell the robber that the bank did not have that kind of money, Kiyotoki wrote.

The teller returned to tell the man what she had been instructed to say and again offered the $7,000, according to the affidavit, and the man again refused and took back the note saying, "Forget it, I'll be back later."

During an interview with police Dec. 2, the affidavit said, the teller said the suspect appeared to be a former relief teller whom she knew as "Froilan" but was wearing a wig and had no glasses.

She identified Froilan Luga in a photo lineup as the man who tried to rob her.

Luga was arrested Monday.

Luga allegedly admitted he tried to rob City Bank on Dec. 31 and that he was wearing a wig to disguise himself.

Assistant Federal Defender William Domingo, who represents Luga, could not be reached for comment.

Attempted bank robbery is punishable by a 20-year prison term. A preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 18.


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