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Armored car office heist suspects plead not guilty to $1 million Santa Rosa heist

An informant may have played a central role in disrupting a brazen scheme to steal millions of dollars last week from a Santa Rosa armored car company, according to court documents released Wednesday.

The would-be robbers, allegedly led by a man accused of stealing nearly $1 million from Garda Armored Car Services a year ago, intended to return to the company's warehouse last week and drive away with an armored car full of cash, prosecutor Bob Waner said in court.

"It was a huge and sophisticated conspiracy," Waner said during a hearing Wednesday.

Wednesday's bail hearing provided the first bits of new information since police last week announced the arrests made with the assistance of the FBI.

On Aug. 6, the night of the planned heist, the unidentified informant joined two brothers accused of orchestrating the attempted robbery, according to court documents. The three strapped on body armor and black tactical clothing and drove to the company's Northpoint Parkway warehouse, according to court papers.

The suspects planned to steal an armored vehicle and drive it to a cabinet shop less than two miles away that was being used as a safe house, Waner said.

It is not clear why the robbery was not carried out. The following day, law enforcement authorities arrested three Santa Rosa men accused of planning the robbery: brothers Monico and Juan Dominguez, ages 39 and 26, and Shawn Geernaert, 33.

All three pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges carrying potential life sentences.

The elder Dominguez is accused of stealing nearly $1 million during an August 2011 holdup at Garda. In that heist, a group of masked gunmen slipped through a door at the company's offices and made off with the money, Waner said.

Prosecutors said he enlisted his younger brother and Geernaert to return to Garda last week for even more money.

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