Man, woman accused in University City bank robbery attempt plead not guilty

3rd suspect Robert Hodge remains at large

SAN DIEGO - Robbery charges were filed Friday against a man who was shot during a failed bank heist in University City and a woman accused of being an accomplice.

Casey Allen Wilson, 27, is charged with two counts of robbery and an allegation that he threatened a bank employee with a stun gun.

He was arraigned Friday afternoon at Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he's being treated. He entered a not guilty plea before Judge Laura Parsky, who set bail at $250,000.

Wilson seemed groggy and uninterested in the proceedings that went on at his bedside. His public defender entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf, saying that Wilson was sedated, but aware of what was happening.

Laura Joyce Elshire, a 42-year-old potential third-striker, appeared before Judge David Szumowski at the San Diego County Courthouse, where she pleaded not guilty to one robbery count and was ordered held on $100,000 bail, said Deputy District Attorney Dennis Panish.

Wilson and Elshire are due back in court next Thursday for a status conference.

Wilson faces a possible 7 years in prison if convicted.

Elshire allegedly handed a demand note to a teller inside a Wells Fargo Bank branch in the 8400 of Genesee Avenue shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday. In the written message, she and an accomplice claimed to be armed with a gun, according to San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer.

Wilson allegedly told the teller to hurry and repeated the demand before switching on an electric stun gun he was carrying, police said.

"It's obviously a pretty sophisticated plan," Panish said.

A bank security officer realized what was happening, identified himself and told Elshire, who was wearing a blond wig and carrying a blue bag, to lie down on the floor along with Wilson, police said. Instead, the male suspect turned and began striding quickly toward the guard, prompting him to fire two shots, according to the SDPD.

"Instead of complying, Mr. Wilson approached the armed guard, who then fired off two rounds," said Deputy District Attorney Chandelle Konstanzer.

Wilson then ran out of the building with wounds to his face and one of his arms, and got into a waiting car, which sped off, police said. The getaway vehicle, a teal-colored 1999 Honda Civic, was allegedly driven by 28-year-old Robert Hodge, who remains at large.

Inside the bank, while the two male suspects fled, the security guard again ordered Elshire to surrender. She allegedly refused and replied, "shoot me," then tried to flee. The guard hit her over the head with the butt of his gun, tackled her and took her into custody, police said.

About 45 minutes later, the Civic pulled up in front of the hospital. Wilson got out, and the man behind the wheel drove off. Wilson was admitted to the trauma center and remains there under guard.

Elshire, who according to Panish was convicted in 1997 of attempted murder and robbery, was treated at a hospital for a minor head injury and booked into the Las Colinas women's jail in Santee.

She faces up to five years in prison on the robbery count if convicted, but if a court finds her priors to be valid, she could be sentenced to up to 30 years to life, the prosecutor said.

Preliminary evidence suggested that the security guard's responses to the attempted robbery broke no laws, according to Mayer.

Konstanzer claimed Wilson was involved in robbery of the same bank branch on May 7.

"We believe the defendant went into the Wells Fargo Bank, cased it, left and then the co-defendant in this case, Mr. Hodge, went into the bank and robbed it," said Konstanzer.

Photos released by SDPD Thursday show Hodge to be white, with short brown hair and brown eyes. His neck is heavily tattooed. The pictures reflect that he occasionally wears a mustache.

Anyone with information about Hodge's whereabouts was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Police advised anyone spotting Hodge to regard him as armed and dangerous, not to approach him, and to call 911.

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