A father and his sons are accused in a string of bank robberies in El Paso County.
Colorado Springs police confirm to 11 News that they took three men into custody Thursday, who are believed to be responsible for almost 10 bank robberies.
Only 11 News was there when Braden Butson, 23, his brother Nicholas Butson, 20, and their father Brock Butson, 51, were all arrested and charged with multiple counts of robbery.
Nicholas and Braden appeared before a judge on Friday to hear the charges against them. They are facing charges of robbery, attempted robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. Both are being held on a very large bail of $250,000. Their dad is expected to appear before a judge next week.
According to court papers obtained by 11 News, Nicholas Butson is cooperating with police. He reportedly told them he was only involved in one robbery at the People's Bank in Monument, and his brother and dad committed the other crimes.
Court papers show Braden and Brock Butson are both denying their involvement in the crimes.
Springs police say they received several tips after releasing the surveillance photo from a robbery at First Bank on August 29. They eventually found what they believed to be the getaway vehicle at a motel on South Nevada Avenue.
“(Robbery detectives) are excited, this is something that they live for and when they found that there was more than one suspect, that makes them even more excited,” CSPD spokeswoman Barbara Miller said.
For days, police watched the vehicle and identified the suspects.
We talked to one woman, whose identity we’re protecting, who told us she first recognized one of the brothers after seeing a surveillance picture on 11 News.
"I'm shocked. Like this is just really shocking," the woman said.
She said someone close to her dated one of the suspects for years. She's met the two brothers and their dad several times before.
"It was (Brock’s) idea. I know it was, like his dad is the mastermind under it, his dad is the reason those kids fell apart," she said.
Investigators first thought the robber was just one man, the same suspect we’ve been calling the Ball Cap Bandit.
Police say the father was the getaway driver for the robberies.
"They’re very non-violent people...I mean, they didn't use a gun...or a knife even, in any of the robberies, just a simple note," the woman said.
But Miller said it could have just been a matter of time before the situation escalated.
“You never know when they’re going to go from passing a note to having a weapon so it’s a very dangerous situation,” Miller said.
Investigators said their crime spree started in May at the Academy Bank on Briargate Boulevard, a bank police said they robbed four times and attempted to rob a fifth time before continuing their string of robberies elsewhere. Police believe they are also responsible for robberies at the American National Bank on Briargate Boulevard, the U.S. Bank on West Garden of the Gods Road, and the First Bank near Rockrimmon and Vindicator.
"Right now we feel confident that it'll solve all eight bank robberies," Miller said.
We’ve also been in touch with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office; they told us they would also be charging the suspects for robberies committed at the Peoples Bank in Monument.
A bank robbery suspect known as the "Ball Cap Bandit" robbed another bank Thursday afternoon. That's according to Colorado Springs police.
Police say the suspect walked into the First Bank on Village Center Drive and handed the teller a note. The bank is located near Rockrimmon and Vindicator.
"I was shocked because usually I take for granted that nothing bad is going to happen in this area, and then when I hear about a bank robbery that's scary," a First Bank customer said.
No weapons were seen during the robbery. No one was hurt.
Police say the suspect ran north across Vindicator and through an apartment complex. One witness told police the suspect ran right in front of a car, which almost hit him.
The suspect may have parked somewhere in the area of War Eagle Drive.
Police are asking the driver and anyone else who saw anything suspicious to call police at 444-7000.
The suspect is described at a white man, 6 feet tall in his mid 20s. He has short to medium-length blond hair or light red hair and sideburns.
He wore a dark long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans, sunglasses and a dark ball cap.
The suspect is accused of robbing at least eight other banks across Colorado Springs and Monument.
Anyone with information is asked to call CSPD at 444-7000 or Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP.
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