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FBI rewards pair of good citizens in Valley for leading police to bank robber

The Federal Bureau of Investigation rewarded two good citizens Thursday for their courage, valor and assistance in capturing a fugitive of the law.

“We have to pay attention to get rid of the bad people that are hurting the innocent and police officers,” said Richard Bounds, recipient of a cash reward. “My message to the community is to never be afraid about calling the police, they’re there to help.”

The story began on Dec. 23, 2013, when suspect Mario Garnett started a cross country crime spree. After a failed bank robbery, he allegedly robbed an ATM customer in Atlanta, Ga. Later that day, he allegedly robbed a bank in Tupelo, Miss. and subsequently is accused of shooting two Tupelo police officers during the escape. Officer Gale Stauffer was fatally wounded and Officer Josheph Maher was critically wounded but survived.

A few days later, Garnett allegedly robbed the BBVA Compass Bank on W. Thomas Road and N. 31st Ave. in Phoenix. During the robbery, when Bounds called the police to alert them of the robbery and stayed on the phone until police officers arrived on scene. After a shootout with Phoenix police, the suspect was struck and killed.

Bounds and another witness each received certificates of appreciation and each received a check for $25,000, money which had been offered for information on the case.