Police Catch Alleged East Texas Bank Robbers - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/12/06 - Crockett

Police Catch Alleged East Texas Bank Robbers

by Ramonica R. Jones

"It was very traumatic," said Patricia Lucas, Prosperity Bank vice president. "The teller handled it very well. She was very calm, cool, and collected and afterwards she was understandably very upset. Everyone of us felt like we'd been personally violated."

After almost two weeks on the run, 30-year-old James Valentinis-Dee of Porter and 37-year-old Dana Lawson of Cayuga are finally in jail. They were caught early Friday morning near Conroe in a stolen car.

Crockett Police Chief Jimmy Fisher said, "Allegedly, it belongs to his mother who loaned it to him, and she reported it stolen once the vehicle was not returned."

A Houston County Crime Stoppers tip led authorities to the couple. Investigators believe they robbed the Prosperity Bank in Crockett April 3rd. They were linked to the crime through fingerprints found on a note Valentinis-Dee handed a teller during the robbery. They found the getaway car, but couldn't find them.

"It's a big sense of relief knowing that he's been apprehended and will be behind bars for a few years, we hope," said Lucas.

Police won't say how much money was taken from the Prosperity Bank, but Valentinis-Dee was reportedly upset that it was such a small amount. He and Lawson are in the Montgomery County jail charged with aggravated robbery. Several other charges against them are pending.

Valentinis-Dee and Lawson are also suspected of robbing several other Texas and Louisiana banks over the last week.

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