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Bank robbery suspect appears in federal court

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A man accused of robbing a local bank was in federal court in Roswell Monday for an initial appearance.

Randy Matthew Peraza, 47, of Oklahoma City, is charged with bank robbery and incidental crimes in connection with Friday’s robbery of a Pioneer Bank at 306 North Pennsylvania Avenue. No one was injured in the robbery.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Evans said at Monday’s hearing that if convicted, Peraza could face up to 20 years in prison, followed by up to three years supervised release.

Peraza was informed of his Constitutional rights and subsequently remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals following the hearing.

He is scheduled to appear Friday at a preliminary detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Las Cruces.

According to a criminal complaint, Peraza entered Pioneer Bank Friday at 10:25 a.m. He then informed the crowd “this is a robbery” and approached one of the bank tellers. Peraza demanded the teller give him all the 100, 50, 20 and 10 dollar bills available.

The teller complied, handing Peraza a total of $4,738. After receiving the money, Peraza then exited the bank, crossed the street and sat in the grass, the complaint states.

Police a short time later arrived on the scene, responding to the bank’s panic alarm, where they found and arrested Peraza, according to the complaint. All but $20 of the stolen money was recovered.

Roswell Police and investigators from the FBI secured the crime scene, interviewed witnesses and viewed the bank’s surveillance video.

Police then interviewed Peraza, and he allegedly admitted to the robbery.

The complaint did not indicate what, if any, weapon Peraza was armed with during the robbery, and does not list a motive.

Peraza at the hearing, however, did tell Evans that the explanation about why he robbed the bank is “pretty fantastical.”

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.