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Corona senior suspected of robbing bank, mistreating dogs pleads not guilty

By in Press Enterprise on July 29, 2017

By City News Service

A 72-year-old man accused of robbing a Corona bank and whose nearly three-dozen dogs were seized after being found amid filthy conditions, pleaded not guilty to second-degree robbery Friday, July 28. The dogs were found without enough to eat or drink, when police investigating the heist served a warrant at the defendant’s home.

Robert Bustamante Flores, 72

Robert Bustamante Flores was arrested Wednesday following a Corona police investigation into the June 20 holdup at the Pacific Western Bank branch in the 1000 block of West Sixth Street.

Flores is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside and made his initial court appearance Friday afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

According to Corona police Detective Mario Hernandez, Flores allegedly presented a teller with a threatening note demanding cash and was handed an undisclosed amount of money, then left the bank in an unknown direction and eluded police.

After a few weeks, investigators identified the defendant as the alleged perpetrator and summoned him to the Corona Police Department for a voluntary interview, after which he was taken into custody without incident, the detective said.

He said a search warrant was obtained for Flores’ house in the 100 block of North Vicentia Avenue, where investigators seized items allegedly used during the bank robbery.

Hernandez said Flores “told investigators that he had about 26 dogs in the main area of his home,” and said he slept in the garage and let the dogs roam the house.

Police and animal control personnel arrived at the residence after dark Wednesday and located 35 canines, including seven newborn puppies.

“Over all the years of my career, this is by far the worst call I have ever been to,” Corona Animal Control Officer Bill Sellers said. “I have never witnessed this level of blatant neglect.”

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