A man who has been the subject of an intense manhunt in the North Bay for his involvement in a rash of bank robberies was arrested by police on a Novato freeway off-ramp after a bank teller recognized the suspect in the failed robbery attempt.
Novato police responded to an attempted robbery at a U.S. Bank branch inside the Safeway at Hamilton Marketplace about 1:45 p.m. Thursday March 28 after a male teller recognized the suspect, identified as Joshua James Metoxen, 23, of American Canyon.
Novato police said the teller called police after he recognized Metoxen as being the man responsible for a bank robbery at the same branch, located at 5720 Nave Drive on Feb. 19.
“The employee moved to a secure location and notified the Novato Police Department,” Novato police Sgt. Michael Howard said.
Metoxen fled the bank on foot, witnesses said. A responding detective spotted a vehicle leaving the area a few minutes later that matched the description and conducted a traffic stop on northbound U.S. Highway 101 at Rowland Boulevard.
Metoxen and the driver, 20-year-old Jack Dennis of Napa, were held at gunpoint by police and taken into custody.
Metoxen was identified as the suspect responsible for the robbery of the same branch last month, during which he approached the bank teller and presented a demand note before fleeing with an undisclosed an amount of cash, police said.
“We believe the suspect may be linked to other [bank] robberies in the county but we aren’t confirming anything,” Lt. Jennifer Welch said.
No one was injured in Thursday’s aborted robbery attempt.
Metoxen, who lists his occupation as a construction worker on the Marin County’s sheriff’s booking log, is being held in Marin County Jail on suspicion of robbery, burglary and attempted robbery.
He was also arrested in 2012 by Napa County Sheriffs for felony parole violation and possession of a controlled substance.
His bail is approximately $1.8 million and includes a $750,000 warrant out of Lake County where he is a suspect in two additional bank robberies.
Dennis, who lists his occupation as a bus boy, was booked on suspicion of attempted robbery and burglary for his role in Thursday’s failed robbery attempt. His bail is $500,000.
Late Thursday, Novato officers taped off the bank area shortly after 2 p.m. and began fingerprinting the kiosk at the branch, but declined to comment further, as the investigation is ongoing.
According to scanner reports Thursday, the suspect was described as a white male, with brown facial hair, wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue jeans and glasses.
On the sheriff’s booking log, Metoxen is listed as 5-foot-10, 250 pounds with black hair.
The supermarket building is equipped with security cameras at the entrances and exits as well as the U.S. teller kiosk. Surveillance footage of the bank and the supermarket were secured by authorities, according to scanner reports.
The Marketplace U.S. Bank has been hit before. In October 2011, police offered a $25,000 reward after a male subject approached the teller, said he had a weapon and demanded money. He fled after the teller gave him an undisclosed amount of cash.
Police have yet to confirm any connection with previous bank robberies in Marin or other North Bay banks, though Thursday’s getaway vehicle matched the description of a mid-2000s tan Honda, which was reportedly seen fleeing the scene of the March 13 robbery of a Westamerica Bank in Mill Valley.
Marin authorities are investigating a number of bank robberies since Dec. 12 and whether there is a link to the suspects in Thursday’s attempted U.S. Bank robbery.
Novato police are collaborating with other police agencies, including the FBI and Lake County authorities to determine if there is any link between the two men arrested Thursday and other previously reported Northern California bank robberies.
This story will be updated as details are made available.
Contact Nicole Baptista at email@example.com.