Feds Catch Bank Heist Coach in New Mexico

A veteran bank bandit, who is suspected of coaching two rookie bank robbers during nine recent holdups in Albuquerque, was captured Wednesday after he pulled a heist of his own, federal authorities said.

George Marvis Hyatt, 39, who had been arrested five years ago on charges of committing four bank robberies and was released from federal prison last month, was in federal custody Wednesday, along with a man and woman suspected of being his proteges - Marc Matthew Dutch, 22, and Consuelo R. Vaughn, 31.

"We feel that we have all of the suspects involved in committing 10 robberies in the past two weeks," said FBI Special Agent Bill Elwell.

The three are suspected of stealing $18,000 in 10 bank robberies since Nov. 12, authorities said.

Hyatt's arrest came about 24 hours after Dutch, who was dubbed "The Rookie," was taken into custody in connection with seven bank robberies. Hyatt was arrested Wednesday afternoon minutes after Compass Bank, 1201 San Pedro NE, was robbed. Police say Hyatt was making a getaway on a bicycle.

"We were expecting that he would hit a bank," Elwell said. "Without a vehicle, he was desperate and probably didn't have any money. It wasn't a surprise to us."

Members of the Albuquerque police repeat offender program found Hyatt leaving a home he had just broken into not far from the bank, according to authorities.

Shortly after Hyatt was taken into custody, city police detectives arrested Vaughn, whom they suspect committed two of the 10 robberies.

Earlier this week, the FBI asked the public for help in catching a bandit they called "The Rookie," because he was young and committed the robberies almost flawlessly, leading police to believe he was being coached.

At the same time, they were also looking for another bandit who committed robberies just like "The Rookie." But this bandit was a female and had committed two robberies. They never publicly talked about her.

On Tuesday, the FBI and APD found a fingerprint on a note used to commit one of the robberies attributed to "The Rookie" and matched it to Dutch. A dye pack in a bag of money had exploded and police found the money and note. When police took Dutch into custody, he looked at officers and said, "It's about time," according to federal court documents. When questioned by federal agents, Dutch told them that about three weeks ago he started smoking crack, quit his job and decided to start robbing banks to support his addiction, court records state. He said that "almost immediately" after he robbed a bank, he would buy significant quantifies of crack cocaine, court records state. When he was being questioned, agents noticed red stains on his watch band.

Dutch told agents that Hyatt had "planted the seed" for him to rob the banks and split the cash with him, court records state. He said Hyatt suggested he use a note and wear a certain type of clothing, and also picked out the banks.

Authorities think Hyatt also drove the getaway car, which was spotted Tuesday in the Northeast Heights and abandoned after a brief chase.

Even though Hyatt was arrested in 2000 on suspicion of committing four bank robberies in Albuquerque, he did little or no prison time for it.

In fact, his conviction and sentence has been sealed by a federal judge. What is known is that a prison sentence, if any, was less than two years.

According to federal court documents, after the sealed sentence was imposed in June 2002, Hyatt was back in court 21 months later because he violated the terms of his supervised release. The judge sentenced him to five months in prison.

Less than a year later, in February 2005, Hyatt was back in court again for violating the terms of his supervised release. This time, he was sentenced to eight months in prison and was released on Oct. 14. The maximum federal sentence for bank robbery is 20 years.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment Wednesday on Hyatt's sentence and why the documents were sealed. Hyatt's attorney at the time, Jacquelyn Robins, could not remember details about the sentence and said that if it was sealed, she could not talk about it.

Suspected in robberies

According to the FBI, George Marvis Hyatt, Marc Matthew Dutch or Consuelo R. Vaughn are suspected of robbing the following banks:

Nov. 12: First Financial Credit Union, 2700 San Mateo NE. Nov. 14: Compass Bank, 6001 Academy NE.

Nov. 18: New Mexico Central Credit Union, 8418 Zuni SE.

Nov. 21: Bank of the West, 1422 Carlisle NE.

Nov. 22: Compass Bank, 4624 4th NW.

Nov. 25: IronStone Bank, 7300 Jefferson NE. Nov. 26: Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union, 3707 Juan Tabo NE.

Nov. 28: New Mexico Central Credit Union, 8418 Zuni SE.

Nov. 29: Compass Bank, 12001 Sierra Grande NE.

Nov. 30: Compass Bank, 1201 San Pedro NE.