|For Immediate Release
Case # TBA
October 23, 2007
SERIAL BANK ROBBER CHARGED WITH
KIDNAPPING AND SHOOT OUT WITH COPS DURING
HOLD-UP OF LAGUNA BEACH BANK
NEWPORT BEACH – A serial bank robber has been charged with holding up a Laguna Beach bank at gunpoint and trying to shoot police officers as he attempted to flee. Michael Edward Sousa, 52, is a third-striker charged with felonies for the theft of a firearm, unlawful taking of a vehicle, kidnapping for robbery, five counts of 2nd degree robbery, two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a peace officer, assault with a firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, and possession of a firearm by a felon. He is also facing sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm. Sousa has two prior strike convictions for bank robberies in 1989 and 1992. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on all counts. Sousa is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today, October 23, 2007 at 1:30 p.m. at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.
On October 18, 2007, Sousa is accused of stealing his brother’s car and a Glock semi-automatic hand gun from his house. The following day, on October 19, 2007, Sousa is accused of going to the Citizens Bank in Laguna Beach at approximately 11:00 a.m. armed with a gun. He is accused of forcing the security guard from the parking lot into the bank at gunpoint and demanding money from a female teller. While inside the bank, Sousa is accused of firing three shots, but did not hit anyone. He is accused of taking the money and attempting to flee the bank, but was confronted outside by two Laguna Beach police officers. The defendant is accused of firing his gun at the officers, who then returned fire. The defendant and the officers were not hit. Sousa was apprehended moments later. A victim in a nearby car was hit in the arm by a shot fired by the defendant.
Deputy District Attorney Sandra Nassar of the Career Criminals Unit is prosecuting this case.