Bank card, security footage lead to arrest of man suspected in bank robbery in St. George

Officers and detectives respond to bank robbery reported at America First Credit Union inside of Lin's Market on Mall Drive in St. George, Utah, Dec. 16, 2021 | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Detectives working the robbery at the credit union inside of Lin’s grocery store in St. George last week identified and arrested the suspect allegedly responsible, a parolee for a prior bank robbery conviction from Washington State.

Surveillance footage of suspect inside of America First Credit Union during robbery reported Dec. 18, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Tiffany Mitchell, St. George News

The man, 39-year-old David Ray Bryner, was arrested and booked into jail in Washington County shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, after he was identified by St. George Police detectives as the suspect allegedly involved in the bank robbery reported Dec. 16 at the America First Credit Union inside Lin’s grocery store at 2928 E. Mall Drive in St. George. 

At the time of the incident, officers responded to the credit union after a panic alarm was activated from inside of the bank. They arrived to speak to bank employees who reported they were robbed and the suspect took the money and then fled on foot, according to charging documents filed with the court.  

Surveillance footage showed the suspect entering the grocery store and approaching the teller window inside of the credit union before he grabbed cash from the bank employee and then fled through an emergency exit door located nearby. 

The suspect reportedly told the employee not to pull any bait money and only pull the currency from the top and bottom cash drawers. The suspect grabbed the cash and was stuffing the currency in the front pouch of his sweater as he fled from the building. 

The teller said they were shaky and nervous during the incident, while the other two employees who were working at the time told authorities the man was talking so rapidly and quietly it was hard to understand him. One bank worker told officers the man was talking so fast they thought he was speaking another language.

The bank manager confirmed the suspect took $1,287 during the incident. 

As officers canvassed the area, a detective noticed fresh shoe impressions along the route the suspect took that headed northwest from the bank, according to witness statements gathered through the course of the investigation. A number of impressions matched a Nike Flex shoe, which was matched the shoes the suspect was reportedly seen wearing in the security footage.

Investigators also found a witness who lives along the route the suspect took who reported seeing a vehicle that he described as “strange,” adding it appeared to be an older-model Porsche SUV that he did not recognize as belonging to anyone in the area. 

When the security footage captured from inside of the grocery store and the credit union was scrutinized frame by frame, they noticed a tattoo on the suspect’s left wrist that was visible as he stood at the teller’s window. 

As investigators continued viewing the footage, they noticed the suspect drop what appeared to be a red bank card, and during a follow up with grocery store employees, detectives learned a bank card was found inside of the store with the name “David Bryner” imprinted on it. 

Detectives discovered that Bryner was the registered owner of a 2004 Porsche Cayenne SUV, and they also learned through prior police interactions the suspect had a tattoo on his left wrist consistent with what was seen in the footage. 

A criminal background check revealed that Bryner had prior robbery convictions in Washington State, and in fact, the report states, he was on probation in those cases when the credit union incident took place. 

Officers found the suspect outside of his residence on Barcelona Drive in St. George, and he was taken into custody and transported to the St. George Police Department for an interview. 

The suspect told police he never lends his bank card to anyone but went on to explain he “loses his cards often but doesn’t report them lost or stolen,” the detective noted in the statement.

A robbery is reported at America First Credit Union inside of Lin’s Market on South Mall Drive in St. George, Utah, Dec. 16, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

When asked, Bryner denied ever being at Lin’s grocery store and said he never robbed a bank. The investigator asked Bryner why the suspect would say he never robbed a bank when that was not the question he was being asked by detectives. 

The suspect responded by saying he knew that was where the conversation was going, referring to the robbery of the credit union and again denied that he robbed a bank. 

He also denied that his vehicle was ever at Lin’s market, despite being told there were witnesses and security footage that reportedly placed him there. 

Officers photographed two tattoos on the suspect’s left hand, one with a distinct “M” on the wrist that matched the tattoo visible in the video footage.  When investigators showed the suspect photographs of the tattoos captured by the security footage, Bryner again denied that he was the suspect and said “everyone has tattoos.” 

As he was confronted with the evidence, Bryner reportedly denied that any of it was “true” and said he had nothing to do with the incident. 

At that point, he was placed under arrest. Officers then searched the suspect’s property before transporting him to Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, which is when they allegedly found a small metal container filled with suspected marijuana. 

The suspect was booked into jail facing second-degree felony robbery, as well as theft, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia — each a misdemeanor. 

Authorities requested Bryner be held without bail, citing the suspect’s prior convictions for similar crimes out of state, as well as being on active probation for a robbery at the time of the incident. The request was approved, and the suspect remains in custody without bail at the time of this report. 

The conviction in Washington State relates to a robbery at Chase Bank in Federal Way reported on Jan. 6, 2010, when Bryner reportedly handed the teller a note demanding all of the hundreds, fifties and twenties out of her cash drawer and said if the teller did as they were told, “no one would get hurt,” according to appellate court filed in Seattle in 2012

The teller emptied the cash drawers, and the suspect fled with approximately $1,035. He was later identified, tried and convicted of first degree felony robbery by a jury — a conviction the suspect appealed in 2012 on the grounds there was insufficient evidence that he robbed a financial institution and that he presented no weapon. The appeal was later denied, and his conviction was upheld.

Bryner remains in custody without bail at the time of this report. 

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained. 

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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