Bank robbery suspect Douglas Ellens ordered to stand trial

Ellens accused in 3 heists in one week

SAN DIEGO - A man accused of holding up three banks over the course of a week, including two within a span of 90 minutes, must stand trial on felony robbery charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Douglas Michael Ellens, 39, faces up to seven years in state prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Roy Lai.

Ellens is suspected of starting the spree of heists at a US Bank branch in the 5400 block of Balboa Avenue in Clairemont Mesa on Sept. 5, according to San Diego police.

Bank teller Pamela Gonzalez testified at a preliminary hearing today that Ellens approached her station and handed her a note, telling her to stay calm and hand over all of her money.

"I felt scared," Gonzalez testified. "He took it (the money) and left."

Gonzalez said she was told the robber got away with about $6,000.

About 3:20 p.m. Sept. 12, Ellens allegedly handed a demand note to a teller at a US Bank location in the 4800 block of Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, then repeated the crime at a Comerica Bank branch in the 3300 block of Rosecrans Street in the Midway area about 90 minutes later, SDPD public affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said.

Several hours later, officers tracked the suspect down at a Super 8 Hotel two blocks from the site of the third robbery and arrested him without a struggle.

Alejandra Costantino testified she was working at the US Bank on Newport when Ellens, wearing a hat and sunglasses, put a demand note on her counter that read "This is a robbery," and "I have a gun."

The teller said she gave the robber $832, including a dye pack that explodes when the money leaves the bank.

Comerica bank teller Ikhlas Soulaqa testified that Ellens came to her desk and presented a note demanding money and saying he had a gun.

"I was very scared," Soulaqa said. She said she gave the robber more than $1,000 in cash, which included a GPS tracking device.

San Diego police Detective DeWayne Glazewski testified that Ellens told him that he had been on a crack cocaine binge after breaking up with his girlfriend and had been living in his car.

Glazewski said detectives searched a hotel room and found a folder with cash and part of a GPS tracking device on a bed.

Detectives also searched Ellens' Lincoln Navigator and found clothing worn by the robber, Glazewski testified.

Under questioning, Ellens admitted to all three robberies, the detective said.

Following the preliminary hearing, Judge Amalia Meza ruled that enough evidence was presented for the defendant to stand trial.

A readiness conference was set for Nov. 22 and trial for Dec. 11.

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