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[whitespace] San Jose man, 30, is charged with 2 WG bank robberies

Willow Glen--A San Jose man, accused of two recent Willow Glen bank robberies, was arrested by police on April 30, less than an hour after pulling off the second heist.

Murl Gardner Salmon, 30, was stopped by police shortly after robbing a Wells Fargo branch at 1250 Lincoln Ave. Officers stopped Salmon, who was driving a stolen truck, minutes after that holdup, at the intersection of Camden and Leigh avenues.

Police tried to take him into custody at gunpoint, but Salmon would not get out of the truck and tried to drive away. One officer fired two shots at the truck, blowing out the rear tire. The suspect continued to flee, but lost control of the truck and hit a curb about two blocks away on Ross Avenue.

Salmon, who is being held in Santa Clara County Jail on $30,000 bail, has been arraigned on four felonies: two counts of robbery, vehicle theft and a felony vehicle code violation. He was scheduled to enter a plea on May 7.

Police said he got away with less than $1,000 cash in both robberies.

San Jose police spokesman Sgt. Steve Dixon said that, because he was wanted for robbing a bank, police believed that Salmon was possibly carrying a weapon, but none were found at the time of the arrest.

Detective Jeff Enslen, who is investigating the case, said that, in addition to the Wells Fargo robbery, Salmon has also been charged with robbing a Bank of the West branch at Hamilton and Meridian avenues on April 23.

In both cases, Salmon allegedly walked into the bank, handed a teller a note demanding cash, and left quickly. Also in both cases, nobody in the bank, except the teller, was aware that a robbery was occurring. Witnesses told police they didn't see the suspect with any weapons and didn't see him get into a vehicle.

Investigators linked Salmon with the first robbery because there was a similar suspect description and a similar note in both cases. Police filed charges against Salmon with the district attorney's office on May 1. Although police are still investigating both cases, Enslen said that there are no connections yet to other bank robberies in the area.

The officer who fired the two shots at the suspect's vehicle remains on active duty. Dixon said police policy authorizes officers to fire their weapons at certain times, and that the incident will be reviewed by both the officer's superiors and the department shooting review board. At the time of the robbery, he added, police had to assume that the suspect was armed and dangerous, and that he was trying to get loose in a densely populated area.

According to Dixon, the truck Salmon was driving was reported stolen from a downtown garage door company three or four days before Salmon's arrest. Although Dixon could not discuss the details of the suspect's criminal history, he did say that Salmon, who was on parole at the time of his arrest, had several prior convictions and that the most recent charges would probably be his third strike.

Enslen said that the Bank of the West branch has been robbed several times, although he couldn't say how many. "That bank seems to be popular," he said.
Jeff Kearns

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