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Last year's nearly $1 million holdup of a Santa Rosa armored car company was an inside job carried out by a man who claimed he worked for the Blackwater military security firm, according to court documents filed Monday.

Monico Dominguez, 39, of Santa Rosa allegedly relied on a contact within Garda Cash Logistics to stage the Aug. 11, 2011, heist in which masked men with assault rifles slipped into the warehouse at night, bound employees and made off with cash, said legal papers from a co-defendant.

As he allegedly plotted a second, aborted robbery of the same company last month, Dominguez told a police informant he worked for the controversial private security outfit with operations in Iraq and received sniper training in Texas, the papers said.

He also claimed he committed up to four armed robberies before, the papers said.

The new details emerged in a motion from co-defendant Shawn Geernaert, 33, of Santa Rosa, who is seeking to be tried separately. Prosecutors said Geernaert agreed to let Dominguez and another man stash an armored truck at his cabinet shop and use his truck before the plans were scrapped.

Geernaert claimed he didn't know about the alleged scheme before handing over his keys to his childhood friend, who he'd seen on a "random basis" over the years.

"There is no evidence that Mr. Geernaert knew about any plan to kidnap, steal an armored truck or rob Garda, its employees or any other person," attorney Joe Stogner wrote in his motion.

But when questioned by police after his arrest, Geernaert told detectives he suspected Dominguez was "up to no good," according to his own motion.

The three defendants, including Dominguez's brother Juan Dominguez Jr., 26, of Santa Rosa, appeared in court Monday in custody as more than a dozen friends and family members looked on.

The elder Dominguez is charged with kidnapping and robbery connected to last year's heist. He's also charged with planning to hit Garda again along with Juan Dominguez and Geernaert.

All have pleaded not guilty to charges carrying possible life sentences. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Oct. 10.

Prosecutors have remained tight-lipped about the case. Charging documents allege Monico Dominguez was among a group that stormed the nondescript Garda building last year, sneaking through a garage door behind an armored car.

Garda employees were terrorized and one "was crying throughout the ordeal," according to the latest defense papers.

Police seemed to have few leads despite a $100,000 reward offered by the company.

But detectives were pursuing the case. A person who turned out to be an informant was recruited by Monico Dominguez, who prosecutors said revealed plans to steal an armored car Aug. 6 and hide it at Geernaert's Dutton Meadow Drive shop.

In conversations recorded by a hidden device, Monico Dominguez admitted the earlier robbery and said he planned to flee to Costa Rica after robbing Garda again, according to court papers.

Dominguez also discussed his background. A spokesman for Academi, formerly known as Blackwater, would not confirm if Dominguez ever worked for the firm.

"The company doesn't comment on personnel matters," spokesman John Procter said Monday.

The identity of any Garda accomplice was unclear.

Prosecutors allege that on the night of the robbery attempt, Juan and Monico Dominguez and the informant met at Monico Dominguez's Becky Court house.

They allegedly headed out to rob the warehouse but were thwarted at the last minute by police officers who created a visible "presence" nearby. The three suspects were arrested the next day.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.

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