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Authorities say a bank robber awaiting federal sentencing absconded from a halfway house in Albuquerque before committing up to 10 armed robberies around the city.
Fidel Castillo, 49, is charged with aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer stemming from the high-speed chase that led to his arrest Jan. 4.
Auto theft detectives with the Albuquerque Police Department followed Castillo’s PT Cruiser after they recognized it as being involved in recent robberies, according to court records. Authorities said Castillo fled from officers, speeding through the city and running red lights, before a spike belt was used to stop the car and he ran into a stranger’s home, hiding under a child’s bed.
APD spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins said Castillo told police after his arrest that he committed at least 10 armed robberies and “possibly others.”
The details of those robberies are unclear, as Castillo has not been charged, but an Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers news release said the incidents happened at a Walmart, Smith’s and Walgreens, among other stores.
State prosecutors have filed a motion to detain Castillo until trial on the fleeing charge, calling him an “extremely dangerous person.”
“No one should have to live in fear of a convicted and suspected robber running into their child’s room to hide from police,” the motion states.
At the time, Castillo was awaiting federal sentencing for multiple bank robberies in 2017 and had been living at La Pasada Halfway House since November 2020, according to federal court records.
A federal judge released Castillo to the halfway house months after he pleaded guilty to three counts of bank robbery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of conspiracy in the case. He faced up to 50 years in prison.
“Much of the work on this case has been delayed due to the pandemic,” Castillo’s defense attorney wrote in a February 2021 motion.
In his plea agreement, Castillo said he robbed three Albuquerque banks in August and November 2017, sometimes using a toy gun that resembled a Desert Eagle and ordering customers to the floor.
Castillo robbed one bank solo and the other two in the same day alongside a man identified as “John Doe,” according to the plea agreement. It also said that on May 22, 2017, Castillo served as the getaway driver, while “John Doe” robbed two banks.
Atkins said an armed robbery detective is working with the FBI on additional federal charges related to Castillo’s most recent string of armed robberies.