MCSO: Man admits robbing Sun City bank with fake pipe bomb

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Mark Edward Neal By Jennifer Thomas Mark Edward Neal By Jennifer Thomas
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

SUN CITY, Ariz. – A man arrested after a bank robbery in Sun City Tuesday afternoon admitted to rigging a device to look like a pipe bomb, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Mark Edward Neal, 34, was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail for burglary, theft, armed robbery and misconduct involving weapons.

Neal was arrested at his home near 107th Avenue and Union Hills, just a mile and a half from the bank he's accused of robbing.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the AMTrust Bank at Del Webb Boulevard and Bell Road after it was robbed by a man whose face was covered by a bandanna. The suspect demanded money from a teller and revealed a purported pipe bomb that he threatened to detonate unless the teller complied with his demand, according to Lt. Brandon Jones.

The teller gave the suspect money, along with a GPS tracking device hidden among the bills. The man left the bank with over $5,000 in cash and sped off in a gray SUV.

Deputies and Peoria police surrounded Neal's home and found him in his backyard. Jones said Neal denied any involvement and said it was his co-worker, located inside his residence, who was responsible.

The sheriff's SWAT team was deployed and made entry into the home but found no one else inside and no sings of explosives.

Neal was taken into custody.

In an interview with detectives, Neal admitted to robbing the bank, saying he needed the money to move to Indiana where his children and ex-wife live, according to the sheriff's office. Detectives said he also admitted rigging a fake device made from PVC and an electronic cigarette to look like a pipe bomb.

Jones said Neal told deputies that that he had planned to rob the nearby Wells Fargo Bank and staked it out for three nights but decided on the AMTrust Bank instead.

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