Lizardo Monje allegedly posed as victim while helping friend rob bank where he worked

Lizardo Monje has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to rob the bank where he worked.

What are his odds of success? Well, police say they recorded him and an associate discussing the robbery -- while they were sitting in the back of a cop car.

Cops in Longmont reportedly believe Monje hatched a scheme involving a pal, Frank David Gutierrez. The concept: Gutierrez would don a disguise and enter the bank prior to opening. Then the pair would put on a show for surveillance cameras, with Gutierrez forcing Monje at knife-point to open the vault and hand over the dough inside. Afterward, Gutierrez would tie up Monje, tape his mouth, and leave him for the next arriving employee to find. And when Monje subsequently told cops he'd been jacked by "an Asian or Hispanic man with a chubby face" wearing an Army jacket, the surveillance cameras would back up his tale.

Things went down pretty much like that this past February. But there were some flaws in this seemingly perfect plan. For one thing, the Academy Bank branch was Monje worked was "inside an open, busy Wal-Mart," Longmont Police Commander Jeff Satur noted afterward. "A bank robber is not going to take the time to go to all that work." For another, Gutierrez got away with so much cash that it suggested an insider's knowledge of banking procedures.

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As such, cops were immediately suspicious of Monje, and subsequently followed him to Greeley. There, he met with none other than Gutierrez.

Both men were promptly busted and placed in the same police car. While inside, cops say they started talking about the robbery and where the stolen money had been hidden -- and when officers looked there, they found all the cash, with the exception of $48.

Not much of a haul after all that work.

Late last month, Gutierrez, who's been charged with third-degree burglary, felony theft and conspiracy to commit same, was offered a plea deal. No word thus far about whether he's taken it. But Monje, whose list of accusations adds false reporting to Gutierrez's roster, hasn't raised the white flag yet.

Look below to see larger booking photos of Monje and Gutierrez:

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Michael McCullar, 11 others, sentenced in violent Adams County meth ring (PHOTOS)."


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