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Man sentenced in 2020 bank robbery

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A Roswell Police Department vehicle parked in front of the Pioneer Bank at 306 N. Pennsylvania Ave. following a March 13 bank robbery. Randy Matthew Peraza, a suspect in the robbery, was sentenced to three years in federal prison Jan. 27. (Daily Record File Photo)

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A California man who set his hands on fire while robbing a Roswell bank has received a three-year prison sentence in connection with the incident.

U.S. District Judge James A. Parker on Jan. 27 sentenced Randy Matthew Peraza, 48, of Needles, California to three years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, according to a press release issued Monday by the Office of the U.S Attorney for the District of New Mexico.

The court recommended he be held at the Federal Correctional Institute in Big Spring, Texas should there be available room at the facility, court documents state.

In July Peraza pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery per a plea agreement in the March 13 robbery of the Pioneer Bank at 306 N. Pennsylvania Ave. in Roswell.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, followed by a minimum of three years mandatory supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

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According to the agreement, Peraza admitted to entering the bank on the morning of the incident and announcing “this is a robbery.” He then approached a bank teller and instructed the teller to hand him all the 10s, 20s, 50s and 100s. The teller responded by taking $4,738 in currency out of his drawer and handing it to Peraza.

While waiting for the teller to gather the cash, court documents state, Peraza applied hand sanitizer to his hands and lit them on fire.

Once he received the cash, Peraza then exited the bank, crossed the street and sat in the grass. No one was hurt in the robbery and court documents do not indicate whether or not Peraza was armed.

According to court documents, Roswell police were dispatched to the scene in response to the activation of the bank’s panic alarm. Peraza was subsequently arrested.

Later, when interviewed by police, Peraza admitted to robbing the bank.

Following Peraza’s arrest U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Evans granted a motion by the state to hold Peraza pending criminal trial, because of uncertainty about whether he would appear in court as required if released, along with a personal history of criminal offenses, alcohol and substance abuse and violence or use of a weapon.

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

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