Robbery charges filed

An ex-con is accused of holding up
three banks last month

A man with 59 arrests and a stabbing-death conviction has been charged as the "Merry Christmas" bank robber.

Urick Leimamo Trueman, who was arrested Thursday, was charged yesterday in federal court for three robberies in which he allegedly took $5,905.

The 48-year-old Trueman has a long criminal history, according to court papers, with 59 arrests and 22 convictions, including a 1992 manslaughter conviction in which he stabbed a man to death.

Police believe Trueman is the suspect who, on Dec. 22, pointed a pistol at a teller at the Waipahu branch of City Bank and demanded money. After taking $375, the suspect wished the teller "Merry Christmas" and ran, police said.

Trueman is also charged with the Dec. 27 robbery of the Kapahulu branch of the Bank of Hawaii, in which he allegedly told the teller: "I have a .45 piece in my pants. Give me all the money in the drawer," according to a police affidavit. He then allegedly lifted up his jacket, revealing a handgun tucked into the waistband of his pants, and fled with $4,320.

On Thursday, Trueman allegedly went into the Wahiawa branch of American Savings Bank and threatened the teller with a gun. The teller gave the suspect $1,210, including "bait" bills, whose serial numbers were recorded for future identification.

A bank employee saw the suspect get into a black Kia sport utility vehicle and noted the license plate number. Police found the SUV at a gas station in Waialua and found a hooded sweatshirt and baseball cap, which the suspect was described as wearing, a money band and the bait bills. Police also found a black-and-silver pistol in a trash can.

Trueman flagged down a couple driving by the Waialua Post Office and offered to pay $100 for a ride into Haleiwa, according to the affidavit. The woman got out and called her boyfriend's uncle, who is a police officer, and told him what was happening.

Meanwhile, the boyfriend was driving Trueman into Haleiwa town when Trueman suddenly jumped out, police Detective Taro Nakamura, special deputy U.S. marshal, stated.

The boyfriend flagged down police officers and pointed out the direction in which Trueman ran. Police arrested him on Kamehameha Highway.

In 1992, Trueman was sentenced to 10 years for the fatal stabbing of Chad Cruz. The Hawaii Paroling Authority set his sentence at five years, giving him two years and 37 days credit for time served.

"It may seem low, but manslaughter convictions and sentences during that time averaged six years, two months," said Tommy Johnson, Hawaii Paroling Authority administrator.

Johnson said the paroling authority may have taken into consideration the "mitigating circumstances" of the stabbing case. In that case, Cruz and another man initially went to harass Trueman in a Pawaa apartment. Trueman initially came out swinging a two-by-four, then stabbed Cruz at another location, Johnson said.

Trueman served four years and 10 months, and was paroled March 1, 1995. A 1993 assault conviction occurred while he was in jail, Johnson said.

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