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Bank employee help nabbing robber

by FullertonPoliceNews

Gerald Malonda did something that police and his boss generally frown upon. Malonda

He pursued an armed bank robber.

The action began to unfold about 9:30 a.m. on April 30 at Farmers & Merchants Bank on North Harbor, where Malonda has worked as a vice president and portfolio banker for the past year.

A man wearing a hooded sweatshirt, fake beard, gloves and sunglasses threatened two tellers with what turned out to be a replica handgun.

Sitting at a desk across the bank, Malonda saw what was happening and quietly picked up his desk phone and dialed 911.

Unfortunately, the phone’s speaker was on.

Afraid, he hung up. But he didn’t give up.

Malonda then followed the robber out of the bank, this time dialing 911 on his iPhone.

The first Fullerton officer arrived 40 seconds later; several others arrived within minutes.

The suspect realized he was being tailed. So he picked up the pace.

As he ran he tossed his fake beard and the gun under a car in a parking structure in the 100 block of Wilshire.

Near the bank, police set up a perimeter to contain the suspect in the area.

A police officer spotted him near Whiting and Malden, and found the cash in his backpack.

During interviews, the suspect, Gilbert Granado, of Fullerton, admitted robbing the Citizen’s Business Bank on Harbor earlier in April, as well as another robbery in Brea, police said.

Fullerton detectives handed the case to the FBI. He could face seven years in federal prison.

Last week, police officials thanked Malonda and presented him with a plaque.

“If it doesn’t work out at the bank, we hope you’ll put in an application at the police department,” Police Chief Dan Hughes said.

Sgt. Jeff Stuart said police generally discourage residents from pursuing criminal suspects.

“What we typically recommend is that residents call us immediately and be the best possible witnesses they can be,” he said.

For his part, Malonda said he’s happy to have played a part in the arrest of the robber.

It was the second robbery he’s experienced in his 25-year banking career. In the other one, the robber handed a note demanding cash to a 70-year-old teller, who was so shaken she didn’t return to the job.

“I’d do it again,” Malonda said. “These robbers can be brazen and I’m glad we caught him.”