Freed bank robber
The ex-convict confesses to
new series of holdups
A man who allegedly confessed to robbing several banks on Oahu this month just got out of prison after serving time for a separate series of bank robberies eight years ago.
Wallace Silva Jr., 52, was arrested and charged in federal court with robbing the Bank of Hawaii at 101 N. King St. on Aug. 20.
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court yesterday alleges Silva admitted to robbing five other banks after he was captured following a short foot chase near Foster Botanical Gardens and was identified by the bank teller in the latest robbery.
According to the teller, a Caucasian man approached her counter around 11:15 a.m. Aug. 20 and placed a folded handwritten note and a blue waist bag on her counter. The note allegedly read, "I have a gun. Give me all your money."
He demanded $100 and $50 bills. The teller also heard a "click" when the robber put his hand into the blue bag. Intimidated, the teller handed over $7,000 from her cash drawer. The robber placed the money into the blue bag and was last seen running mauka on Maunakea Street.
Honolulu Police officers responding to the scene caught him shortly after the robbery when they saw him jaywalking and arrested him on an outstanding federal probation revocation warrant.
Silva was arrested for first-degree terroristic threatening after he allegedly brandished a knife at arresting officers.
During the chase, Silva was seen discarding a blue waist bag which matched the description of the bag given by the teller.
Silva later confessed to robbing the following banks: Bank of Hawaii at 727 Kapahulu Ave. on Aug. 8; the Waikiki branch of First Hawaiian Bank at 2181 Kalakaua Ave. on Aug. 10; the Makiki branch of Central Pacific Bank at 818 Keeaumoku St. on Aug. 12; American Savings Bank at 321 Seaside Ave. in Waikiki on Aug. 15; and the American Savings Bank at 1425 Liliha St. on Aug. 19.
Sources said Silva had just been released from prison two days before the Aug. 8. He had served time for another robbery spree in 1997 that included robberies at three banks and a hotel, as well as an attempted robbery at Sears Ala Moana.
FBI agents tackled Silva about an hour after his last robbery at the Kaimuki branch of American Savings on June 24, 1997 when he showed up at his girlfriend's home at Mayor Wright Housing.
Those who helped arrest him the first time around said they recognized his name immediately, though they were somewhat surprised that he was out and actively robbing banks so quickly.
"We ended up arresting him for all of the bank robberies, but he might have not served time for all of them," said HPD Lt. Hank Nobriga, who in the mid to late 90's was assigned to the robbery detail as a detective. "What surprises me is he came out and almost immediately started robbing banks again...we thought he might wait a while at least.
"Thank goodness they picked him up."
Initially there was some confusion whether this was the same suspect robbing the banks because of various descriptions by different witnesses. In the first three robberies earlier this month the suspect was described as being anywhere between 30 and 50 years old, weighing between 150 to 220 pounds, and standing between 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-6 inches tall.
"Everybody's perception of what someone looks like is different," said CrimeStoppers Coordinator Kim Capllonch. "Because of that at first nobody came to the conclusion that he was the same suspect."