FBI agents arrested a Spokane bank teller Thursday, a day after his roommate staged a drive-through window robbery, then killed himself as police closed in.
Anthony B. Maze, a 20-year-old teller for First Interstate Bank, faces charges of bank robbery and embezzlement.
“They lived together and planned the bank robbery together,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Johnson.
Maze told police he had been robbed at gunpoint by a stranger wearing sunglasses and a hat.
He lived at 32 E. Rockwell with John Wayne Carter, 19, who died at Sacred Heart Medical Center Wednesday evening.
As Carter lay dying, his roommate was making arrangements to buy marijuana, apparently with some of the stolen bank money, court documents allege.
Carter died from a self-inflicted bullet wound four hours after holding up the First Interstate branch at 2910 E. 30th where Maze worked.
Maze, interviewed Thursday night in the Spokane County Jail, denied any involvement in the robbery.
“John did this on his own,” he said. “Just because I was a friend doesn’t mean I’d do something like this.”
Carter shot himself after police stopped his pickup at 11th and Ivory minutes after the 2:10 p.m. robbery.
A driver pointed a chrome-plated revolver through the drive-through window at Maze and reportedly said, “Just be quick about it and don’t be stupid.”
Court documents say $4,635 was taken.
But when police and FBI agents searched the suspect’s truck after he shot himself, they only found $2,635 taken in the robbery, court records say.
Agents didn’t immediately know what happened to the missing $2,000.
Investigators now believe Maze may have hidden the money in his clothing or a gym bag and taken it home after the holdup.
“They’re looking for two thousand dollars that doesn’t exist,” Maze said.
“I’d be the first to admit that my financial situation isn’t great, but it wasn’t worth robbing a bank over.”
The teller showed up late for work and missed a mandatory “loss prevention” class just hours before the holdup, court documents say.
Bank managers were in the process of firing Maze for tardiness and unexplained absences when FBI agents arrested him at his home.
Maze said he didn’t know his roommate was a suspect in the holdup until Wednesday night, when his girlfriend told him Carter shot himself.
Still wearing khaki slacks, an Izod polo shirt and dress shoes shortly after his arrest, Maze said he helped police by providing a description of the robber. He wouldn’t have done that, he said, if he knew it was his friend.
“He had on a hat and sunglasses, which he never had before,” Maze said. “His truck had a canopy, which it didn’t before.”
Maze said he started working at the bank three months ago. Over beers, he, Carter and other friends bantered a few times about robbing the bank.
“To my knowledge, it was just jokes,” Maze said.
Maze gave First Interstate officials the wrong spelling of his first name and a false birthdate making him one year older when he was hired, Johnson said.
Because of that false information, bank officials weren’t able to learn from public records that Maze had arrests for possessing drugs, but no convictions.
On Thursday, a 22-year-old friend of Maze’s and Carter’s contacted the FBI and told agents he heard the pair discussing a bank robbery on Monday.
“Carter was to threaten Maze with a weapon, and Maze would pass a large sum of cash to Carter,” court documents say.
The young man thought his two friends were “just blowing smoke” until he learned about the robbery in a news report Thursday.
The man told FBI agents that Maze was in debt and dating Carter’s former girlfriend.
On Wednesday evening, before the informer learned about the robbery, he talked with Maze on the telephone. Maze asked his friend where he could buy marijuana, which the friend thought was odd because he believed Maze was broke.
In Thursday’s jail interview, Maze admitted buying the marijuana, but he said he did so to cope with his roommate’s death.
“When I found out about John’s death, it was hard,” Maze said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
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