Local News

3 Accused of Aiding Robbery Suspect's Flight

Posted November 22, 2007 2:41 p.m. EST

— Police said Thursday that they had charged three workers in a Domino's Pizza distribution center with taking money to help a bank robbery suspect try to escape after he ran into the warehouse while fleeing police.

Garner police and Wake County sheriff's deputies were chasing Samuel James Cooper, 30, on Wednesday when he jumped from his van and ran into the pizza business, they said. Cooper later surrendered.

Garner Police Sgt. Joe Binns said that when Cooper ran into the building, he gave some of the money taken from a Bank of America branch to Anthony Ray Avery, 47; Issmar Leonardo Estupiman, 28; and Angel Dario Rodriquez, 25.

The three were charged Wednesday night with being accessories after the fact in the robbery, Binns said.

The event began at about 2 p.m. at a Bank of America at 547 Benson Road. It was robbed at gunpoint, and police chased their suspect for several miles. The suspect's Dodge minivan hit a motorcycle before he ditched it and ran inside the distribution center in Greenfield Parkway, authorities said.

“It was an all-around unsafe situation,” Binns said Wednesday.

After a search of the distribution center, authorities found Cooper. They said they recovered a gun and a stash of cash in the van.

Cooper was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and felony speeding to elude arrest. More charges are expected, authorities said.

Police also contacted the FBI, which was investigating whether the Bank of America robbery would connect to other unsolved area heists.