Sheriff's deputy accused of robbing bank pleads not guilty

November 26, 2012 3:30:58 PM PST
San Francisco sheriff's deputy accused of robbing a bank in the city's Outer Richmond neighborhood earlier this month pleaded not guilty today to felony robbery and commercial burglary charges.

Philip Chun Tong, 36, was arraigned this afternoon on the two charges, which stem from a Nov. 7 robbery at a Bank of America branch at 3701 Balboa St.

Tong, who is out of custody after posting $150,000 bail, declined to speak to reporters outside of court, as did his attorney Eileen Burke.

Court documents show that Tong, who lives in Pacifica, filed for bankruptcy in July.

Police said that on the day of the robbery, a man entered the bank and handed a teller a note demanding money. The note said the man was armed, but no weapon was seen, police said.

The teller handed over about $1,700 in cash and the suspect left on foot. Investigators identified Tong as the suspect using video surveillance and his fingerprints, which were found on the demand note, according to the district attorney's office.

He was arrested on Nov. 16 and has since been suspended without pay, sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Fahey said.

Tong was ordered today by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng to hand over all of his weapons, as well as his passport. His attorney told the judge he has already done so.

He was also ordered to stay away from the teller and the bank that was robbed.

Tong will return to court on Dec. 17 for a status hearing and to set a date for the preliminary hearing in the case.


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