By Robert Crowe - Express-News
This week’s fatal shooting of a robbery suspect by a police officer came at a time when San Antonio saw a spike of nearly 14 percent in holdups of local businesses.
The region also has experienced 60 percent more bank robberies, based on FBI investigations conducted by the agency’s San Antonio office.
“A lot of crimes have peaks and valleys,” said Officer Joe Rios, a San Antonio Police Department spokesman. “It seems to pick up this time of year with the holidays.”
“We strongly believe that it’s the economy, especially with the holidays coming,” said Ino Badillo, spokesman for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, which also has seen a rise in robberies, though statistics were not immediately available.
Despite the increases, violent crime is still down citywide by 2.6 percent this year, according to SAPD statistics.
“He was crying, saying he needed money because his wife was going to leave him,” said Priscilla Diaz, manager of the Fred’s in the 1100 block of Cupples Road, which police suspect was robbed by Escamilla and another man on Sunday. Police are still searching for the suspected getaway driver.
The robber’s tear-filled heist Tuesday netted him just $2 about a half-hour before Officer Marc Valero fatally shot Escamilla in a neighborhood near the robbery scene. Police said the suspect had refused to drop his gun.
“When dealing with a typical armed robber — the person who chooses a weapon to commit a crime — you’re dealing with a compulsive offender who has poor impulse control,” said FBI San Antonio spokesman Eric Vasys. “They are typically drug-addicted people who experience a personal poor economy every day.”
Bank robberies investigated by the FBI’s San Antonio office are up 60 percent .While the FBI investigated 55bank robberies in all of 2007 in Central and South Texas, there already have been 88 robberies this year for the areas of San Antonio, Laredo, Austin, Del Rio and McAllen. Vasys said most of the increases were in Austin and Waco.