Robbery: What It Takes


In November 2011, 39-year old Fairfield resident Henry Albert Smith Jr. allegedly entered a branch of Bank of America wearing a mask, robbed a teller and fled the bank. Tipped off by a customer who followed the suspect from the bank, Vallejo police Officer Jim Capoot pursued Mr. Smith into a back yard in North Vallejo where Officer Capoot was killed by gunshot.

Near the scene of the shooting, a search of the vehicle of Mr. Smith revealed a mask, gloves, sunglasses, and a bank bag containing over $3,000 dollars. Mr. Smith was charged with murdering a peace officer, committing murder during a robbery, lying in wait, and committing murder to avoid arrest. The charges along with special circumstances make him eligible for the death penalty upon conviction.

In March of this year, a motion by Mr. Smith to dismiss the robbery charges against him was denied by a Solano County Superior Court judge on the grounds that sufficient evidence exists to pursue robbery charges against Mr. Smith.

California law defines the conditions required for an allegation of robbery including:

  • The taking of personal property in possession of another
  • Removal of that property from their immediate presence or person
  • Taking property against the will of another
  • The crime is accomplished by force or fear

In reviewing the alleged facts of the crime committed by Mr. Smith, there is the taking of property from another, in the immediate presence — and against the will of bank officers and the action was accomplished through fear or force.

If you are arrested on robbery charges, those same factors can be used as defenses. The prosecution must prove, and your defense attorney must challenge, whether property was personally taken from someone with a possessory interest in the property. The action must be against their will through force. There is room for the unique facts of your case to be used to mitigate charges against you.

Posted in Criminal Defense