HOUSTON – A convicted armed bank robber is accused of robbing two Houston-area banks while armed on Thursday, just two months after being released from state prison on parole for the same offenses.
Winston Latson is charged with evading arrest with a motor vehicle after allegedly leading police on a chase Friday morning but West University Place Police said additional charges for the bank robberies are expected.
The bank robbery spree started Thursday afternoon around 1 p.m., when Latson is accused of attempting to rob a Chase Bank at 7803 Long Point Road. An FBI Houston spokesperson said he didn’t get away with anything because a security guard spooked him.
Then around 3:30 p.m. and about 10 miles away, West University Police Department responded to reports of a bank robbery at the Bank of Texas at 5500 Kirby Drive.
“He had displayed a weapon and then had committed a robbery and left the location with an undisclosed amount of money,” West U Police Sgt. Patricio Acevedo said. “The weapon, I believe, was inside his waistband. And he just displayed he lifted his shirt and made it known that he had a weapon.”
Because banks are federally protected, the FBI got involved and linked the suspect to both bank robberies.
Within hours, West U police had identified the suspect using license plate readers and surveillance camera, technology the department refers to as the city’s ‘virtual gate.’
“Anybody that comes through our city, their vehicle gets recorded, their license plate gets recorded,” Sgt. Acevedo said. “License plate readers and other technology is very beneficial for investigations and generates leads that in the past we may not have had.”
On Friday morning, Sgt. Acevdo said technology picked up the same car traveling in the Bellaire area, which is when officials with Bellaire Police responded and found the matching vehicle.
Latson then led police on a nearly two-mile chase and threw a gun out of the rental SUV, which police later determined to be an air soft gun.
The chase came to an end at the intersection of Buffalo Speedway and the Southwest Freeway.
“It struck a pole underneath the freeway. And then the occupant, the driver took off running on foot,” Sgt. Acevedo said.
Police caught up with him at a nearby apartment complex and took him into custody. An HPD helicopter and K9s assisted.
According to West University Police, Latson was convicted of two armed bank robberies and spent the last 13 years in state prison. He was released on parole in May.