Robert Alan Peters (inset left), shown here waving a gun in an Oregon bank robbery, and Anthony Arrigo (inset right) were both convicted of the crime.
By Patric Hedlund
Last week, Robert Alan Peters, 46 was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Anthony George Arrigo, 56 had received the same sentence a week earlier. U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner also ordered the two to repay Umpqua Bank in Grants Pass, Oregon the $12,508 taken during their January 2008 robbery.
If lack of honor among thieves is a hazard of the profession and a cliché of TV dramas, these two local men appeared straight from central casting in 2009 when the FBI—along with six agencies in two states— investigated the Oregon bank robbery that led straight back to Frazier Park.
Detective Sergeant Dennis Ward of the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said that Arrigo, who owns property in Frazier Park and has served as a home inspector for realtors in the Mountain Communities, walked into the Grants Pass police station in March 2009 to tell officers he thought he knew who robbed the Umpqua Bank January 18, 2008.
Video surveillance showed the robber pulled a 357-caliber revolver, fired two rounds into the ceiling, yelled ‘Hold Up!’ and left with the $12,508.
Arrigo pointed investigators to Peters, saying he had rented property to Peters in Frazier Park and in Grants Pass.
“They’ve known each other for almost 30 years,” Ward said. In his March visit to the police, Arrigo reported that Peters owed money to him as his landlord, then suddenly paid his debt shortly after the robbery, saying he had “inherited” some money.
Officers from Oregon were joined by Kern County deputies to serve search warrants in Lake of the Woods and Frazier Park as they looked for Peters. They arrested him as he was moving to a place in Castaic, Ward said.
Then the tables turned once again. During their investigation with Peters, they obtained information that led them to seek one more search warrant.
While Peters was taken to Kern County, then returned to Los Angeles County Jail to face outstanding DUI charges there, detectives from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, a detective from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and an FBI agent showed up at Arrigo’s front door in Grants Pass.
On April 1, at about 8:30 p.m., they presented him with the warrant and took Arrigo into custody. But it was no April Fool’s joke. Detectives located three devices which appeared to be grenades and blasting caps. The residence was evacuated and the Oregon State Police Bomb Squad was called to the scene. After they secured the devices, detectives seized money from the residence and a firearm believed to have been used in the robbery. Arrigo was transported to the Josephine County Jail on robbery charges.
Investigators said they believe Arrigo provided the firearm used in the robbery, shared in the proceeds and made a diversionary 911 call on January 18, 2008, reporting a bank robbery on the opposite side of town to draw law enforcement away just prior to the Umpqua Bank robbery.
When Ward was asked whether Peters was “a good guy caught up in the economic downturn,” he was quick to respond.
“Mr. Peters is no Robin Hood,” Ward said, “But I liked him the first time I talked with him. Did he mess up? Yeah. And he was up front and honest about that. Like everyone else in life, he ran into some hard times, but he made some poor decisions about how he was going to get himself out of that.”
This is part of the May 28, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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