A man who recently completed a two-year sentence for robbery was arrested this week as a suspect in a pair of recent Orange County bank heists, including a hold-up at a U.S. Bank in Laguna Beach that occurred 24 hours earlier.
Bill Wright Wills, 22, identified by the FBI as a Laguna Beach resident, was taken into custody without incident outside a Laguna Hills market on Tuesday, May 24, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said from Los Angeles. An investigation led to his whereabouts, said Eimiller, declining to be more specific.
The officer responding to the U.S. Bank holdup recognized the suspect in the surveillance video as Wills because of previous offenses that involved him, said Laguna’s Sgt. Louise Callus. The sheriff’s department was already on the hunt for Wills for questioning about the previous week’s bank robbery in Lake Forest, she said.
A team of investigators began working on tracking Wills on Monday and were watching several locations, Callus said. They managed to find him outside a market that he had entered to use the Western Union services inside, said Callus, who described Wills as a former resident.
In the year’s first robbery, which occurred at a downtown Glenneyre Street branch on Monday, May 23, a bandit who displayed no weapons and made no effort to disguise himself presented a demand note to a teller shortly before closing time. After receiving cash, the bandit fled south on foot and initially eluded police, who arrived less than a minute after receiving a call, police Lt. Jason Kravetz said in a statement. There were no employee or customer injuries.
Court records show that Wills pled guilty to robbery and theft from an elder adult and was sentenced to two years in prison in July 2009. Records also show he pled guilty in four other previous misdemeanor offenses, including theft, DUI, and sex with minor, during 2007 and 2008.
The same Laguna bank branch twice was held up twice last year.