Credit union suspects plead not guilty

Three remain in custody in lieu of $200,000 bail for alleged robbery

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

Three suspects pleaded not guilty Friday in Clark County Superior Court to robbing the Salmon Creek iQ Credit Union April 11 and fleeing in a taxi.

Vancouver residents Frank J. Barnard, 40, Lonnie B. Barnard, 22, and Esmeralda C. Velazquez, 23, were charged with one count of first-degree robbery.

Their trial is scheduled for June 10, though trials are commonly postponed to allow more preparation time.

Each remains in custody in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Frank Barnard and his nephew, Lonnie Barnard, allegedly entered the credit union at 13505 N.E. 10th Ave. at 2:26 p.m., approached the counter and presented a female teller with a note that demanded money. Frank Barnard clarified that it was a robbery and that he had a gun, and he ordered her to give him money, according to court documents.

The teller gave two men about $1,400. The pair then fled the scene, running west toward a waiting black and white Radio Cab taxi

van, according to the Clark County 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 a taxi driver, who apparently didn't know what he was getting into when he picked up the trio, according to police reports. The taxi driver was released and didn't face charges.

Court records indicate Velazquez, who is Lonnie Barnard's girlfriend, apparently was along for the ride. She confessed to investigators that she knew the Barnards had been plotting the robbery for more than a day, according to investigators.