Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Man Pleads Guilty to Charges of Robbery and Kidnaping


A Saugus man pleaded guilty Friday to robbery and kidnaping charges for holding a bank officer and her family hostage overnight last year in the Santa Clarita Valley and then forcing the woman to open her bank to steal more than $100,000, authorities said.

The man, Chad Pelch, 23, admitted to forcing Toula Demosthenous to open the doors of the TransWorld Bank in Canyon Country, allowing him and two other men to steal the money, officials said.

“I am pleased with the conviction as the appropriate disposition of the case,” said Assistant U.S. Atty. David R. Fields, who is handling the case. “I thought he might go to trial but it is never a surprise when someone pleads guilty.”


Pelch and Alex Yepes, 25, of Valencia were arrested in February for the robbery and kidnaping of Demosthenous and eight others, including five children. Two other men were involved in the robbery, officials said, including Pelch’s older brother, Brett, 26, of Valencia, who is still at large, and Darren Towers, 25, of Saugus, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, armed bank robbery and use of a firearm during a crime.

Yepes will go to trial on Oct. 11 for that robbery and a similar one in the San Fernando Valley in which he, Brett Pelch and Towers are charged with kidnaping a Winnetka woman and her family last September and forcing her to open Coast Federal bank in Northridge the next day.

Donald Sallee, 26, of Santa Clarita, the fourth man allegedly involved in the robbery, is still at large, investigators said.

Fields said Chad Pelch was not involved in the second robbery.

Pelch is facing 10 years to life in prison for the kidnap-robbery and will be sentenced on Sept. 14.

“The crime that Chad was involved in was particularly traumatic because it involved taking an entire family as well as four teen-age friends of the children,” Fields said.

Fields said a plea agreement was reached with Pelch, but prosecutors “didn’t offer him much.”


Authorities said they dropped a single firearms charge.