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Chief Apologizes To Bystanders Detained During Suspect Search

FBI Releases ID Of Suspect
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Innocent bystanders handcuffed at the intersection of Iliff and Buckley (credit: CBS)

Innocent bystanders handcuffed at the intersection of Iliff and Buckley (credit: CBS)

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AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The FBI has confirmed the man arrested in connection to a bank robbery in Aurora is the suspect they were looking for and acted alone.

The suspect has been identified as Christian Paetsch, 45, of Centennial.

The Wells Fargo at Chambers and Hampden was robbed just before closing time on Saturday. Shortly afterwards police shut down the intersection of Buckley and Iliff just southeast of the bank, corralling nearly two dozen cars in search for the suspect.

Police Chief Daniel Oates on Monday apologized to the innocent bystanders that got caught up in the search for the suspect. Oates also said the ends justify the means since the suspect was caught.

About 19 vehicles were stopped Saturday afternoon for about two hours.

Oates would not discuss the tracking technology used, but called it a “virtual certainty” that the suspect was among the 40 people stopped and handcuffed.

The suspect was captured on surveillance cameras wearing a beekeeper mask and gloves. Oates said that the mask, along with two semi-automatic weapons were found in the suspect’s vehicle.

Paetsch had one previous arrest. Oates called him extraordinarily dangerous.

Oates said because of the description of the suspect a lieutenant made the decision to stop everyone in the area. Oates called the stops lawful and necessary.

“The law is clear that investigative detentions are lawful for a reasonable period of time,” Oates said. “Reasonableness is determined by the facts and circumstances at issue, and the facts and circumstances were the suspect was in one of 19 cars.”

Oats said the police department has received about five complaints regarding the methods used, but none of them came from any of the 40 people who were detained.

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