Credit union robbery suspects appear in court

The trio is accused of using a taxi van as a getaway vehicle.

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 
photoFrank James Barnard, 40, is one of three suspects facing a potential charge of first-degree robbery in connection with Thursday's holdup of iQ Credit Union in Salmon Creek.
photoLonnie Bearcub Barnard, 22, makes a first appearance in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree robbery.

Three suspects accused of robbing the Salmon Creek iQ Credit Union and fleeing in a taxi appeared Friday in Clark County Superior Court.

Vancouver residents Frank J. Barnard, 40, Lonnie B. Barnard, 22, and Esmeralda C. Velazquez, 23, face first-degree robbery charges at their April 19 arraignment.

Judge David Gregerson held each of them on $200,000 bail, based on substantial criminal histories. Each also was appointed an attorney to defend them: Gerald Wear, Steve Rucker and Mike Foister, respectively.

Frank and Lonnie Barnard are accused of robbing the credit union at 2:26 p.m. Thursday at 13505 N.E. 10th Ave. They allegedly entered the credit union, approached the counter and presented a teller with a note that demanded money. Frank Barnard clarified that this was a robbery, said he had a gun and ordered her to give him money, a probable cause affidavit says.

The teller gave Frank and Lonnie Barnard about $1,400, according to court documents. The pair fled the scene, running westbound toward a waiting black and white Radio Cab taxi van, according to the sheriff’s office. The vehicle merged onto Interstate 5 and headed southbound, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

A witness at the robbery followed the suspects in her vehicle until sheriff’s deputies stopped the taxi on Interstate 5 near Northeast 78th Street in Hazel Dell.

Inside were the three suspects and the taxi driver, according to police reports. The taxi driver was released and doesn’t face charges.

Sheriff’s deputies interviewed Velazquez, who admitted that she was aware that Frank and Lonnie Barnard had been planning the robbery for more than a day, a separate affidavit says.

The taxi driver said that the Barnards were “out of breath” when they entered the taxi, according to court documents. Velazquez allegedly asked how much money they’d stolen. The taxi driver said he then heard the suspects counting the money, the court documents say.

A sheriff’s office spokesman said Thursday that witnesses’ observations and actions played a crucial role in apprehending the suspects.

All three suspects have extensive criminal histories, including property crimes.

Court records show that both Frank and Lonnie Barnard live in a residence with Frank Banrard’s mother and Lonnie Barnard’s grandmother, though it they not say exactly how the two were related.