Crime Trackers: Woman thankful for co-workers after robbery - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Crime Trackers: Woman thankful for co-workers after robbery

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TUCSON - It's something you see on TV: A crime happens and by the end of the show, the bad guy is caught, and placed behind bars.

Well, that occurred just last week.

Pima County Sheriff's robbery detectives said it started with a friendly conversation at a bank with the teller then it went horribly wrong as the suspect robbed the victim at gunpoint away from the bank.

The victim, who asked not to be identified said, "I  thought I was going to die when he pointed the gun at me."

Pima County sheriff's detectives said she was stalked while at the bank on Oct. 2. Detective John Weeks said, "She was making a transaction and the suspect was watching from behind her."

Detectives said the suspect is 28-year-old Joshua Kusmierek. The victim broke her foot days before and she was in a scooter. A co-worker had taken to her to the bank and was waiting for her in the lobby. 

She noticed Kusmierek standing in line, "He had a bag of change and I just kept thinking, 'You're so dumb they only take them rolled.' "

Detectives said "Juana," not her real name, was instrumental in helping them because she was aware of her surroundings and noticed Kusmierek standing in line. Also, she noticed the suspect left the line and walked out of the bank.

Detectives said the suspect got into a silver-colored jeep and waited until the victim walked out.

He followed the women to their workplace about 10 minutes away. When they got out of the car, Weeks said, Kusmierek went around to the passenger's side pulled a pink gun and demanded she her purse.

The victim said, "I gave him my purse, but I seriously thought I was going to die."

Another co-worker witnessed the armed robbery.  She also did not want to be identified, she said.

"My first intention out the door was to get the plates, and I already knew the color of the car was and what it looked like, the next thing was to try to memorize the plate as I ran out chasing him."

Another deputy monitoring the radio heard the license plate number. Weeks said the deputy ran the license plate and found the matching description of the vehicle and where it could be found.

During the robbery, the suspect left behind a key piece of evidence, Bluetooth earphones he was wearing around his neck when he was at the bank. 

"When he ran away and was trying to escape and get in the vehicle he actually did drop those earphones at the scene."

Weeks and other officers showed up at the suspect's girlfriend's house. They saw the silver Jeep Patriot, approached the driver and interviewed him. He first denied being at the bank, when they showed him the surveillance photos it was over, police said.

Detectives issued a search warrant for the house and two vehicles. In the house, they said they found the victim's purse with some of her identification.

In his car were the victim's checks, detectives said he had already made out one of the checks to a relative.

As for the gun used in the robbery, the suspect's girlfriend told investigators she did own a pink gun. They found the box for that gun and some ammunition but they didn't find the actual gun.

Over two hours, detectives said they were able to identify the suspect, arrest him, and find crucial evidence that tied Kasmierek to the armed robbery. However, during that time the victim's credit cards were used at a gas station, a pizza place, and auto parts store.

Weeks said the victim and her co-workers did the right thing.

"Cars can be replaced, money can be replaced, people can't."

The victim learned a valuable lesson - be aware of your surroundings - and is grateful for her coworkers.

She said investigators probably wouldn't have found the suspect as fast as they did if it had not been for them.

Kusmierek is in the Pima County jail on a $50,000 bond. He's charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault. Detectives said additional charges are pending.

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