Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Case # 12CF0107
January 20, 2012
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
TWO THIRD-STRIKERS AND ASSOCIATE DUBBED “MARKET DUO” IN COURT FOR COMMITTING FIVE ORANGE COUNTY BANK ROBBERIES
*Last robbery at a Placentia bank resulted in a high-speed police chase on a freeway
SANTA ANA – Two third-strikers and an associate dubbed the “Market Duo” Bank Robbers by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be in court today for committing robberies at five Orange County banks. Paul Acosta Jr., 28, Los Angeles, is charged with 12 felony counts of second degree robbery and five counts of second degree commercial burglary. Acosta is also charged with sentencing enhancements for prison priors for a May 2010 and January 2008 felony thefts. Andres Soto Jr., 50, Whittier, is charged with 10 felony counts of second degree robbery and four counts of second degree commercial burglary. Soto is a third striker for a September 1983 residential burglary and a July 1993 bank robbery. Richard Valdez, 52, La Habra, is charged with two felony counts of second degree robbery and one felony count of second degree commercial burglary. Valdez is a third striker for an April 1983 robbery, and a May 2003 assault with deadly weapon. If convicted on all counts, Acosta faces a maximum sentence of 15 to 20 years in state prison and Soto and Valdez face a maximum sentence of life in state prison with the possibility of parole.
The defendants are being held on $1 million bail and Soto is scheduled to be arraigned today, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. Acosta and Valdez are scheduled for pre-trial hearing today, Jan. 20, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Acosta is accused of planning the five robberies at banks and recruiting Soto and Valdez for their expertise.
On Oct. 25, 2011, Acosta and Soto are accused of entering a US Bank in La Habra and taking money from tellers Sandra H., Richard G. and Pierre G. by using force and instilling fear in the victims. They are accused of fleeing the scene with thousands in cash.
On Nov. 3, 2011, Acosta and Soto are accused of entering a US Bank in Seal Beach and taking money from tellers Kimberly H. and Miguel T. by using force and instilling fear in the victims. They are accused of fleeing the scene with an unknown amount of cash.
On Nov. 21, 2011, Acosta and Soto are accused of entering a Wells Fargo Bank in Placentia and taking money from tellers Marcus B. and Stephen H. by using force and making the victims fear for their lives. They are accused of fleeing the scene with an unknown amount of cash.
On Dec. 10, 2011, Acosta and Soto are accused of entering a US Bank in Lake Forest and taking cash from tellers Jay K. and Aubrey G. by using force and making the victims fear for their lives. They are accused of fleeing the scene with an unknown amount of cash.
On Jan. 5, 2012, Acosta and Valdez are accused of entering the same Wells Fargo Bank in Placentia from a previous November 2011 robbery by Acosta and Soto. Acosta and Valdez are accused of taking money by force from tellers Jamie W. and Ken N. by making the victims fear for their lives.
As Acosta and Valdez fled the scene with $3,152, they are accused of not stopping their vehicle when officers from the Anaheim Police Department (APD) tried to pull them over. They are accused of leading police in a high-speed pursuit southbound on California State Route 57 and westbound on California State Route 91 freeway at a speed in excess of 100 mph from Orange County to Los Angeles County. An APD helicopter assisted in the pursuit while officers from Placentia and La Habra Police Departments, the Orange County Sherrif’s Department and the FBI chased the defendants.
The pursuit ended in Paramount, Los Angeles County, and Acosta was apprehended while trying to flee from the vehicle. Acosta was shot by a Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputy, and a police canine was able to detain him. Acosta was transported to Saint Francis Medical Center in the City of Lynwood and was later released to Orange County Jail once treated. Valdez is accused of fleeing the scene and getting away.
The FBI Bank Robbery Apprehension Team (BRAT), who dubbed the bank robbers “Market Duo,” helped identify Soto and Valdez as suspects. Valdez was arrested by the FBI. Soto was arrested by La Habra police Jan. 18, 2012.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Beth Costello of the Felony Panel is prosecuting this case.