Man charged in bank robbery that triggered freeway shutdown

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SAN DIEGO — A robbery charge was filed Friday against a man who allegedly held up a North Park bank and was arrested less than an hour later on Interstate 5 in Chula Vista, triggering a partial closure of the freeway while police checked his car.

Gustavo Torres, 32, faces 15 years in state prison if convicted of the robbery count, along with allegations of having prior strikes and serious felony convictions, stemming from the Wednesday afternoon heist at a US Bank branch at 3201 University Ave.

A man wearing an orange shirt and blue jeans entered the bank about 4:45 p.m. demanded cash from a bank employee, then fled in a vehicle with an undisclosed amount of money. Officers caught up with the suspect a short time later and tailed him as he drove south on I-5, San Diego police Officer Robert Heims said.

Around 5:30 p.m., the suspect pulled to a stop in the middle of the freeway near Palomar Street and police shut down the southbound lanes. A sweep of the car turned up “a large sum of cash and an orange shirt,” according to the FBI.

Torres is being held without bail and is slated to return to court Aug. 20 for a readiness conference.

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