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Bandit Kills Armored Truck Guard in Bank

Times Staff Writer

An armored truck guard was killed in a robbery and execution-style shooting Friday morning after he walked into a Panorama City bank to make a money delivery, Los Angeles police said.

Stewart C. Tecson, 27, of Monterey Park was shot once in the head and died on the floor of the Security Pacific National Bank branch, Police Lt. Robert Ruchhoft said.

An unidentified gunman escaped with a bank bag containing an undisclosed amount of cash after the 10:40 a.m. shooting, Ruchhoft said. A stolen pickup used for the getaway was found an hour later about three blocks away, he said.

Routine Delivery

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Tecson, who worked for Armored Transport Co. of California, was making a routine delivery, police said. He was riding in the back of an armored truck that pulled up to a public entrance where the bank in the 8500 block of Van Nuys Boulevard opens to a rear parking lot. Tecson got out of the back with a money bag and the driver, who was not identified, remained in the driver’s seat, a routine procedure, police said.

When Tecson walked into the bank, the robber apparently followed him, police said.

“Before he was able to give the bag to the teller, the suspect came up from behind and grabbed it,” Ruchhoft said. “The armored truck man turned, and the suspect shot him. He fell to the floor, and that’s where he died.”

The shooting took place near the middle of the lobby and was witnessed by several employees and customers, Ruchhoft said. The killer then ran through the bank and out the front door.

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Parked at the curb was a black Ford pickup that had been stolen at gunpoint in West Los Angeles on Thursday, Ruchhoft said. The gunman got in and drove away.

A woman who had parked on Van Nuys Boulevard and was heading into the bank said she saw the man, wearing black pants, jacket and hat, run out of the bank.

“He was in a hurry,” she said. “He almost hit my car.”

The killer had a noticeable limp, but police said he may have been faking an injury to throw off any description of him.

Though investigators believe that the robber said something to Tecson before shooting him, the guard apparently did not resist.

“There are no indications that he put up a struggle,” Ruchhoft said. “It was more along the lines of an execution--take the money and shoot him. The armored truck man’s gun was still in his holster.”

Ruchhoft noted that armored car guards were robbed twice in September while making deliveries at supermarkets in East Los Angeles, but investigators had found no evidence connecting them to the robbery Friday.

“Right now, we think this guy is a loner,” he said.

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Police said a bank surveillance camera was not operating during the robbery.


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