The man police believe robbed a Jackson bank during a February snowstorm may have been on a multi-state crime spree for the last few months.
Kevin Mondel Martinez, 37, was arrested April 3 in Salt Lake City on an arrest warrant out of Caribou County, Idaho, for a March 25 robbery police said he committed in Soda Springs, Idaho.
Martinez has since been extradited to Idaho, where he remains incarcerated on robbery charges. He was arraigned and is awaiting a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Friday.
Martinez is accused of stealing money from the Ireland Bank in Soda Springs by passing a note to a teller.
Detectives at the Soda Springs Police Department were putting together their investigation when they realized a similar robbery occurred in February more than 100 miles away.
“Officers from Soda Springs called us when they had their robbery to see if there were any factors to link theirs to ours,” Jackson police Lt. Roger Schultz said. “Our detectives started talking back and forth.”
The robbers’ descriptions were about the same, and at each bank the robber passed notes and quietly left without showing a weapon.
“The Soda Springs Police Department would like to thank all the citizens and business owners who assisted the department in this investigation,” Soda Springs Police Chief Scott Shaw said. “The department would also like to express their thanks to all of the law enforcement agencies that assisted in the investigation.”
Martinez is reportedly from the Salt Lake City area, but police believe he was living and working in Teton County when he allegedly robbed the Bank of Jackson Hole.
“It seems like he was here for work on a contract job,” Schultz said.
Jackson detectives are finalizing reports and will give them to the Teton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review.
Felony robbery or felony larceny charges are possible, Schultz said.
Police never said how much money the robber got away with, but to charge felony larceny the amount would have to be greater than $1,000, per state statute.
“The difficulty with robbery in Wyoming is you have to prove they used force or fear,” Schultz said. “Does a note passed at a bank asking for money fall under that? I think most people would say they would be scared.”
No one was injured in either bank robbery, police said, but just because the suspect did not show a weapon doesn’t mean he wasn’t carrying one, Schultz said.
“I think most people would logically assume that person has a weapon,” he said.
Schultz said federal charges are also possible because police believe Martinez robbed more than one bank in more than one jurisdiction.
“It might take a few weeks for that decision to be made,” Schultz said. “The federal government carries a bigger hammer.”
If local prosecutors end up with the cases, Martinez will face charges in both Caribou County, Idaho, and here, Schultz said, but he admits the Soda Springs case is stronger.
“In one case we have the note, and in one case we don’t,” Schultz said.
The robber made off with a little over $1,000 in the Soda Springs heist, Chief Shaw said.
The last bank robbery there was in 1992, he said.
Martinez has no criminal record in Idaho but does have a rap sheet in Utah, Shaw said.