ARRESTED:Anthony Prince, 19, formerly of Byron Bay, left, and  Luke Carroll, 19, right, also from the Northern Rivers
ARRESTED:Anthony Prince, 19, formerly of Byron Bay, left, and Luke Carroll, 19, right, also from the Northern Rivers

Local boys in custody after US bank heist

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL and AAP

A FORMER Trinity Catholic College student is facing up to 25 years in prison for the alleged armed hold up of a US bank.

Anthony Prince, 19, formerly of Byron Bay, along with Luke Carroll, 19, also from the Northern Rivers, have lost their first court battle after being indicted by a grand jury.

The jury, in a secret hearing in Denver, found enough evidence to have the pair held in custody. They heard how the teenagers armed themselves with pellet guns and robbed a Vail, Colorado, bank stealing $AUS168,000 ($US130,000).

Prince, who graduated from Trinity in 2003, wrote in his final yearbook that his ambition was to 'have a successful career in something I love and enjoy'.

Those dreams may be put on hold for more than two decades if he is convicted of the robbery.

Prince's Year 12 classmate Nick Russo, of Tyagarah, said he was shocked by the news.

"I was reminiscing with a friend last night who said they'd been caught stealing lollies together when they were 10-year-olds, but we never imagined something like this would happen," he said.

"Anthony was a bit of a joker, but he wasn't a malicious person.

"I don't think he would've planned to rob the bank before he left to go overseas. He probably just thought 'well we're about to leave the country, let's cash in'."

Nick said he believed Luke Carroll was a former Woodlawn College student but this has not yet been confirmed.

The FBI has alleged Carroll and Prince confessed to the robbery after their arrest on March 22.

The grand jury was the first test of the US authorities' case against the friends, who arrived in America last November and were working in a Vail sports store.

Carroll and Prince are expected to make their next court appearance tomorrow in the US District Court in Denver for a bail hearing.

The alleged robbery has grabbed the attention of the US media as the accused robbers appeared to have made a number of mistakes.

Two women attendants at the bank noted the robbers may have had Australian accents. Name tags worn by the robbers were allegedly similar to name tags used by the sports store where Carroll and Prince worked.

In a separate incident, Prince and Carroll were arrested in January by Vail police for allegedly using BB guns, which shoot pellets, to shoot windows in the town.

Police remembered that arrest and their accents, which pointed to Prince and Carroll potentially being the bank robbers.

The pair had also allegedly attempted to buy one-way air tickets to Mexico after the robbery, but when told by the ticket salesperson they couldn't, they bought return flights. When Prince and Carroll were arrested at Denver International Airport, Prince allegedly had $US7,600 ($A9,861) hidden in his pants and more cash stashed away in his ski luggage.



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