PINOLE -- An Oakland man arrested after he held a gun to a teller's head during a bank robbery in Pinole two weeks ago was released from a Contra Costa County jail after local authorities failed to file charges in a timely manner and is now a wanted fugitive, according to the FBI.

Gary C. Fite Jr., 22, was arrested by Pinole police, who followed him and a female accomplice to Vallejo after the March 1 robbery at Mechanics Bank on Pinole Valley Road.

Police took Fite and his alleged getaway driver, Regina Dean, 37, of Antioch, to County Jail in Martinez after their arrest. Fite was booked on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy, possession of stolen property, vehicle pursuit and possession of a stolen firearm. Dean, 37 was held on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy and vehicle pursuit.

Authorities are seeking Gary C. Fite Jr., of Oakland, in a bank robbery in Pinole on March 1. He is described as armed and dangerous.
Authorities are seeking Gary C. Fite Jr., of Oakland, in a bank robbery in Pinole on March 1. He is described as armed and dangerous. (FBI)

But Pinole police investigators, who were working with the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office, missed the 72-hour deadline to file charges against the pair and they were released from jail March 5. Dean was rearrested the following morning and posted bail on March 8. But Fite is still at large.

Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Lee said that Fite and Dean were released because the department's authority to hold them, per California law, had expired. At the time of release, Lee said, Fite and Dean had no warrants, authority or other charges that would allow the department to continue holding them.


Advertisement

But FBI spokeswoman Julie Sohn said the local authorities were supposed to file charges to keep the pair in jail while the federal authorities built their case. When that didn't happen, Dean and Fite were released.

"We are working to determine what happened and we are working to correct the problem and get Fite back into custody," said Pinole police Chief John Hardester.

Fite has since been charged with armed bank robbery and a warrant was issued for his arrest in federal court March 8, Sohn said.

A federal affidavit from an FBI special agent says that about 4:30 p.m. on March 1, Fite entered the bank, jumped over the counter, held a handgun to a teller's head, ordered staff and customers to get on the floor and took almost $3,300 from the drawers.

Along with the cash, however, Fite had also taken a tracking device. Police set up a roadblock at the entrance to Interstate 80 on Pinole Valley Road, which the pair managed to evade. Police tracked the car to Vallejo and arrested by Dean and Fite. The money and a stolen handgun were recovered, police said.

Fite is 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He has a tattoo on his neck and a scar on his chest.

Authorities said he has ties to Oakland, Antioch, Vallejo, and Reno, Nev. He should be considered armed and dangerous, according to the FBI.

Anyone with information on Fite's whereabouts is asked to call the FBI 24-hour line at 415-553-7400.

Contact Daniel M. Jimenez at djimenez@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/DMJreports. Contact Katie Nelson at knelson@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/knelson210.