A Virginia man was arrested for robbing a bank, but he says that he politely asked for the bank’s money and the teller complied, which, in his opinion, means that he did not commit a robbery. According to abcnews.go.com, twenty-three year old Dominyk Antonio Alfonseca walked into a Virginia bank and handed a teller a note that said, “I need 150,000 Bands Right NOW!! Please Police take 3 to 4 minites to get here, I would appriceate if you Ring the alarm a minute after I am gone… Make sure the money doesn’t BLOW UP ON MY WAY OUT:-)”.
In my experience as a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I haven’t encountered very many robberies where the alleged robber actually used a note to ask for money. What makes Alfonseca’s situation even more unusual is that he recorded the robbery, then posted the video and his robbery note on Instagram. Alfonseca’s Instagram post allowed police to track him down and arrest him. According to Alfonseca, there is no evidence of a robbery. He says that he asked politely for money, and the teller gave him the money. He doesn’t believe that he has done anything wrong, but the bank teller may have made a mistake. Alfonseca pointed out that he didn’t want the teller to get into any trouble.
Section 812.13, Florida Statutes defines robbery as “the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.” Even though Alfonseca had no weapon, used no obvious force, and made no verbal threats, he would likely be in very hot water in Florida and will most likely be in hot water in Virginia as well. The “putting in fear” language is a sufficient substitute for the force typically thought of during a robbery, while the act of taking the money and never returning it shows Alfonseca intended to deprive the bank of the money he took.
Sometimes there are creative arguments that can be made to assistance in a defense, whether in negotiation with a prosecutor or in front of a jury. Alfonseca’s defense, which he has shared with the media, seems to be that there was no intent to rob the bank, he was only looking for exposure for his social media account. He achieved that goal, but may have put himself in danger of getting exposed to prison. A skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer should have been the person Alfonseca told his story to, rather than a reporter.
The Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC has experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers that can help use the law to protect your rights and your freedom. Call (904) 685-1200 to schedule a free consultation.