Crime & Courts

Man arrested in 2 East Anchorage credit union robberies in as many months

A 20-year-old man accused of robbing the same East Anchorage credit union twice over two months was arrested Wednesday after family members alerted police to his whereabouts, federal authorities say.

Etuale Ioane of Anchorage faces four federal counts of credit union robbery, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. Ioane is accused of stealing more than $3,400 during two separate robberies at the Credit Union 1 branch on DeBarr Road, one in mid-July and the other on Monday.

The first robbery took place on July 17, when a man now believed to be Ioane walked into the branch and handed a handwritten note to a bank employee at the window, according to an affidavit filed with the complaint by an FBI special agent. The man, in the note, asked for money and stated he had a gun, “that he would shoot everyone inside, and this was not a game,” the affidavit said.

Employees handed over more than $2,228 in bills that included a tracking device later found in a backyard of a nearby residence, according to the affidavit.

On Monday, a man robbed the same branch using a demand note that threatened harm and fled with about $1,340, the affidavit said.

The credit union CEO noted that the suspects in both robberies looked the same, the agent wrote.

On Wednesday, family members of Ioane separately called the Anchorage Police Department to say he would be in a van at a grocery store on Northern Lights Boulevard, the affidavit said. Officers located and detained him there. He was wearing sunglasses and shoes worn in one or both robberies and carrying $714, the document said.


His relatives told authorities they’d recognized Ioane in photographs circulated by the media, according to the affidavit. Investigators found more clothing consistent with that worn by the robbery suspect inside the family home, it said.

During an interview with FBI agents, Ioane said he had an old account at the bank and denied that he was the suspect responsible for the robberies, according to the affidavit.

Ioane was taken into federal custody at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on Wednesday. His first court appearance is scheduled for Friday.