David Flores doesn't mind if stories linger online about his 2010 arrest for bank robbery. He was definitely guilty of committing the crime, as he readily admits. But what pisses him off is that those articles portray him as an idiot who was literally caught red-handed after trying to use stolen currency stained, along with his fingers, by a dye pack that exploded as he made his getaway. He insists that the truth is a lot more complicated, and a lot less dumb.
"It makes me look stupid, like I'm over there trying to pass a fifty-dollar bill with dye on it, and I got red dye on my hands the night of a bank robbery," Flores says. "But that's not what happened."
The account from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, which is shared in our original post, goes something like this: At around 4 p.m. on November 9, 2010, deputies responded to a report of a robbery at Colorado State Bank and Trust, located at 9561 South University Boulevard in Highlands Ranch. Witnesses said a man with a long beard or goatee wearing a dark sweatshirt and pants held up the joint and walked away with an undisclosed amount of money — and, unbeknownst to him, an accompanying dye pack.
Then, at 12:17 a.m. the next morning, November 10, a DCSO crew was called to the Walmart at 6675 Business Center Drive in the Ranch after an employee noticed a customer with red dye on his hands trying to make a purchase using a similarly spattered bill.
Law enforcers subsequently caught up with the man, later identified as Flores, and after detectives quizzed him at his Highlands Ranch home, they "were able to determine that they believed this was the same suspect that had robbed the bank the previous day," a Dougco sheriff's office release stated. As a result, Flores was booked on suspicion of aggravated robbery and theft.
Not true, Flores insists today — or at least the funny parts aren't.
"I'm not a criminal," he maintains. "It was just a bad choice" — one made after he lost his job following a motorcycle wreck and later became "manic-y," in his words, because of an adverse reaction to medication prescribed for his bipolar disorder. He also describes himself as an alcoholic and a drug addict, though he says he's been clean for years.
According to Flores, he planned the robbery for a couple of weeks and chose to put the scheme into motion on the afternoon of the 9th because a storm was raging. "It was kind of a whiteout," he recalls, "and I knew the cameras couldn't catch me." Nonetheless, he took additional precautions, donning "a wig, a goatee, a pair of glasses and a baseball cap. I was also wearing a black sweat outfit, and underneath, I had on regular clothes."
Flores stresses that he was unarmed when he passed a note to the teller, and adds that he politely said "Thank you" when she handed him the cash. "I'm not a violent person," he notes. "You won't find violence on my record, even though they treated it as a violent crime at DOC [the Colorado Department of Corrections] because I was out on parole on a DUI at the time."
He estimates that he was about fifty feet outside the bank when the dye pack went off. He responded by ditching some of the reddest money in a dumpster behind the bank (he put the rest in plastic bags), and he also took off his wig, goatee and hat and threw them in a nearby rain gutter. Then he headed to a bathroom at a store in an adjacent strip mall and washed the dye off his hands. Once that task was finished — and he says he successfully managed to remove all the visible dye — he hung around, watching as deputies processed the crime scene at the bank. "Nobody confronted me at all," he remembers.
Over the course of the next few hours, Flores made his way back to the basement apartment in Highlands Ranch where he'd moved after his divorce in order to be close to his kids. He was hoping to have the place to himself that evening, but then his sixteen-year-old son called and asked if he and his girlfriend could spend the night, and he said okay. But while he hid the money before they arrived, the girlfriend found a stained fifty, little realizing that it was part of the robbery loot. "The kids had no idea I'd done this," he says.
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Later that evening, the three headed to the aforementioned Walmart, where his son's girlfriend tried to spend the fifty, Flores goes on. "As we were walking out, she handed me the bill and told me she was sorry, but the police were coming" after being alerted by a cashier who'd heard about the bank robbery.
Before the cops arrived, Flores managed to bury the bill under a planter in the parking lot. After that, he says, "they detained us for about an hour, but they didn't have any evidence — they had nothing — so they let us go. But as soon as I got home, a supervising detective from Douglas County and another detective knocked on my door — and they threatened to arrest the kids, which is a tactic the police use. They were pulling out the cuffs and were going to arrest them. So I said, 'Okay, I did it' — and they arrested me and left the kids out of it."
Although Flores has no regrets about his decision ("The kids didn't do anything wrong," he reiterates), this confession resulted in years of confinement complicated by his diagnosis with lung cancer when he was in stir. He ultimately served five years of a six-year sentence, and while his health remains shaky — he's on disability right now — he hopes to find employment before long. But at least he's got a roof over his head. "I'm living rent-free in a house that was kind of ransacked by homeless people," he says. "Prior to me living there, police were called by the neighbors over a hundred times, but that's all stopped. Like I said, I'm not a criminal."
He is, however, sensitive about the way he was portrayed in the press. "They turned this into a joke," he says. "But I take it seriously."