Army veteran's busy day off from Fla. post office job included armed bank robbery
By PAULA MCMAHON | Sun Sentinel | Published: April 18, 2017
PALM SPRINGS, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — On George Murillo’s day off from his job with the U.S. Postal Service, investigators said he had a lot planned: Pick up his girlfriend’s son from high school, take his girlfriend’s daughter to lunch, and oh yes, rob a bank.
Murillo, 40, confessed and told FBI agents that he committed the armed bank robbery in Palm Beach County because he was in a “desperate financial situation” due to his failed marriage and his new relationship, according to court records.
He told agents he was “under a tremendous amount of stress” because he was the sole provider for two families, his ex-wife, his current girlfriend and a total of five children.
Murillo said his ex-wife told him during a phone conversation in the early afternoon of April 4 that she and their three children would be evicted if he didn’t promptly pay the rent. Murillo had recently bought his girlfriend a black Chevrolet Impala and a gun, according to court records.
After he hung up, Murillo said he pawned some of his personal belongings, asked some friends for loans and even sold his car. But he was still coming up short and told agents he felt his only option was to commit a bank robbery. He settled on holding up a Bank of America branch in the 1700 block of South Congress Avenue in Palm Springs, investigators said.
“He admitted he chose the Bank of America … because it was close to his work at the post office and he had been there before to make deposits,” FBI Agent Paul Hollinger wrote in court records.
By 2:15 p.m., Murillo had borrowed a gun from a friend, donned his work gloves from the postal service and a military mask from his prior career in the U.S. Army, and was already robbing the bank, according to his confession.
Murillo’s girlfriend was out of town attending a funeral so he drove her car and parked it, with the engine still running, across the street from the bank, he said. As he walked into the bank, he used a doormat to prop it open and pulled out what he said was an unloaded pistol from his pocket.
“When he entered the bank he realized everyone was calm and nobody really noticed him so he placed the gun back into his pocket,” agents wrote in court records. “He then jumped over the counter and told the two … female employees not to hit the alarm and to place the money in the backpack.”
He stole more than $10,000, authorities said.
“Following the robbery, he ran back to the car and went to pick up the [girlfriend’s] kids. Murillo had intended to make a quick stop at home but didn't have time,” agents wrote.
Murillo picked up his girlfriend’s son, a senior at Palm Beach Gardens High School, and then picked up his girlfriend’s daughter from her job at a nearby preschool.
Murillo didn’t realize that a GPS-tracking device had secretly been included in the cash he took from the bank. Palm Beach Gardens police, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office and FBI arrested him after an officer pulled him over near the intersection of Military Trail and Burns Road.
Murillo’s girlfriend’s children told agents Murillo had told them it was a “great day” when he picked them up. They said they had known him for about seven months. After viewing photographs of the robber, they said some items of clothing the robber wore were similar to or matched some of the clothing Murillo was wearing when he was arrested.
Murillo also identified himself in the photos from the robbery, apologized and expressed remorse for making bad decisions, agents said.
In a court order filed Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Lee Brannon ruled that Murillo, of Palm Beach Gardens, will remain jailed because he is a potential danger to the community.
Murillo, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder last August, was a soldier in the U.S. Army from 1997 to 2012. Specialized in convoy security and mechanics, he served six deployments in Iraq between 2003 and 2012 before being honorably discharged, according to the judge’s order.
Postal service officials said Murillo, though jailed, is still employed as a mail handler at the West Palm Beach Processing and Distribution Center.
©2017 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
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