Innocent motorists are handcuffed near their cars on Iliff Avenue between Buckley and Chambers roads June 2 at about 4 p.m. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates defended the mass detainment as police looked for a robbery suspect.

AURORA | A man accused of donning a beekeeper mask and brandishing a pistol during a bank robbery Saturday is a former high school music teacher and violin instructor, according to officials.

Christian Paetsch, 45, was arrested Saturday after police stopped 40 cars and handcuffed 20 people at a busy intersection during a search for a robber who held up a bank at East Hampden Avenue and South Chambers Road.

According to an online biography at Inspire Creative, a Parker theater and performing arts group, Paetsch taught music for several years in Aurora and Douglas County public schools.

Randy Barber, a spokesman for the Douglas County School District, said Paetsch worked as a music teacher there from 2005 until January. Barber said he couldn’t release details about why Paetsch left the district, but said he left in the middle of spring semester.

Online records say Paetsch worked last school year at Iron Horse Elementary School in Parker. Barber said he wasn’t certain what school Paetsch was at in January.

Other records show Paetsch taught at Hinkley High School in Aurora in 2002. Aurora Public Schools officials are confirming his history in the school district.

Ralph Neumann, executive director and founder of Inspire Creative, said he had known Paetsch for 15 years and was shocked by news of his arrest.

“I think right now we are all just trying to understand,” he said.

Paetsch is the lead instructor of the band and orchestra program at Inspire Creative. Neumann said he has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest.

Neumann said he wasn’t aware of any financial troubles Paetsch may have had. He said Paetsch, who has a wife and daughter, has always been an upstanding guy, which is why the arrest was such a shock.

“He has always been an outstanding person of integrity,” he said.

Neumann said he hoped to visit Paetsch in jail to find out more about what happened.

Police said Monday they found two pistols in Paetsch’s car along with the beekeeper mask he wore during the robbery of a Wells Fargo Bank at 15301 E. Hampden Ave.

Federal prosecutors said Monday Paetsch is facing bank robbery charges as well a charge for using a gun during a crime of violence. If convicted, he faces up to 32 years in prison.



264 replies on “Accused bank robber is former music teacher”

  1. Man we don’t know wat kind of people is teaching our kids.. I know not every one is the same but just want to ask APS to conduct more background checks on the new hires..

    1. Alberto – Christian Paetsch was a great guy and absolutely wonderful with the kids.  I’ve worked with him and he taught one of my kids.  Something happened that made him snap.  Let’s not be critical of the system (his past history was flawless) and let’s wait and find out just what happened.

    2. Alberto, Christian was a good man, a great teacher and all the kids would have been miss out out not to know and learn from this man. Things Happen, This world causes things and people to change, do things they wouldn’t normally do. but he was not a danger to the kids. Love you Christian, Im sorry to your family and friends he is still a good man. 

    3. Yes because a background check is going to saw “future alleged bank robber”. No amount of investigation or interviewing is going to guarantee anything. I knew Christian and his wife, I have been in their home years ago and sometimes their is nothing to indicate what someone is capable of. 

  2. I am appalled aand as an advocate for public safety officials, i.e., police officers, firefighters and EMT’s specifically having stood in the cold and rain and snow, wind for three years in a one-man protest to reopen a closed fire station just outside Boston, I am so ashamed today in raeding this story, hearing it on CNN and seeing law abiding citizens, parents, grandparents sitting on a curb w/kids seeing these folks handcuffed…how outagious.

    Now an elder at 62, however willing to give my Life for a police officer or anyone protecting fellow citizens, this story and the actions taken by this police department should come under much scrutiny.

    Surely, time was of the eseence and a reliable tip brought police officers fully armed and stopped these 19-20 vehicles, however w/such heavy weapons and a search of these cars one by one if necessary, but since when are we a police state whereby such action is taken…

    Yesterday, 100 miles from Boston, in Springfield, MA a wonerful 36 year veteran of the Springfield police department was shot twice and killed. Almost daily we hear of our beloved men and women in uniform willing to give their Life to protect fellow citizens, however federal and state officials should take a hard look at the incident and further advise how this very fast developing scenario could have been handled far more professional and respecting the rights of lawful citizens.

    I am a Life-long advocate for the Right of fellow citizens to carry a weapon for all lawful purupose for the reason to be abe to protect themselves and their family from those who are willing to commit criminal intent on another, however not to be placed in such a situation where a lawful citizen is handcuffed for no such reason when there officers were on the scene quickly and this situation demands investigation by State officials and maybe even federal officials….

    We have enough problem w/this “Goldman Sachs” WH administration and its Chicago street organizer well versed in the Constitution striving to shred the US Constitution and the Rights of citizens w/intent to make citizens more dependent on an ever broadening scope of government whereby We are being told what we can drink, eat and now in NJ, placing dogs in auto restraints and for no other reason to catch violators so that tickets can be issed and fine of $250-1000 can be collected. I wonder what fine will be imposed next for let’s say eating a powdered donut!

    This news report is a very serious action taken by the police officer in charge at the scene and pointing a gun at someone and handcuffing them giving no reason is not the American way….

    The Chief of Police needs to visit each citizen abused and sit in front of the children who witnessed such horror and make it clear to the kids and all that an apology is in order….There are laws which permit such action for fear that evidence may be lost, however w/these 20 vehicles or so encircled by fully armed men and women….this decision placing innocent folks on the sidewalk in front of their kids and even there were no kids watching…this must be given much scrutiny.

    As a citizen, I have spent most of my Life as an informed citizen and very supportive of any and all police officers locally, state and in any state, however this scenario must be examined and a better solution should be shared among all officers to prepare better gven a similar example. 

    I travelled 100 miles to stand in the rain w/sign in front of the Cambridge Police Department against Barry Obama for getting involved with a local police action where two officers performed their duty and this elitist WH had no business getting involved in the business which involved a Martha’s Vineyard/Harvard Professor pal of Barack Obama and given the severity of this case and the Rights of 40 innocent citizens, where is the WH today? Certainly not planning to have a beer on the WH lawn…How devisive this WH truly is in its dysfunctional and narrow perspective….

    Well, as a citizen who has stood with strength against the ienptness and self-serving politicians of this day, US fderal law enforcement officials should reenact this case and while each of the responding officers did their best in nabbing a former music teacher and his fiddles in hand, the scenario these officers faced should be given the attentioon it deserves and a better way to handle any future such incident suggested….

    God Bless every man and woman wearing a badge w/honor and willingly committing their Life and the well being of their family in protecting each of us and while the economy is worsening and far more strenuous times are direct ahead of us, let us give every ounce of support to fellow first respondefrs for it is they who show up when we place our deperate 911 call seeking assistance, certainly Not the WH unless a pal and then, not even having all the facts, it is ok to interfere w/a local police department doing its job…let’s hope that Respected officers are given the training and equipment required….oinly you can assure that those responding are so prepared….

    Christopher Tingus
    PO Box 1612
    Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645


    1. I agree with Parent.  Mr. tingus needs to stay in Massachusetts and stand on his soapbox and scream out our President, Mr. BARACK Obama, there, and stay out of Aurora where we are discussing the tragic events of a troubled man and a bank robbery.

  3. He was my guitar teacher two years ago. I thought he was cool.. this is sad, and kind of scary. /: 

  4. Christian Paetsch is a great person.  The demon that took over his body Saturday is not the person that I know and respect.  He snapped somehow, this is a desparate act.  I would trust Christian with my life.

  5. Christian Paetsch is a wonderful person who loves music, is a kind and supportive teacher, and someone who truly cared for his students. I cannot imagine what personal turmoil caused him to do this, but my prayers are with him and his family.

  6. I’ve known Christian as a teacher for a number of years and he was always incredible with the kids.  I knew him to be a wonderful person – always kind, caring and compassionate.  I don’t know what might have happened in his life to cause this, but let’s not rush to judgement.  He is an amazing person and teacher.

    1. Lets not rush to judgement… REALLY … the dude had a GUN and ROBBED a bank?!?! WTF? Everyone says, “Oh he’s not like that….” guess what something snapped sadly and HE IS LIKE THAT…. Maybe the guy WOULD have shot someone?!? Who knows! He did the crime, and Hopefully like ANY OTHER CRIMINAL, He will do the time!
      Robbing a bank and what the police are 2 diffent issues, this guy IS NOT a victim. PERIOD!

      1. I don’t think anyone has said he was a victim.  If you knew Christian, you would agree with Parent.  Christian is a good person who did a very bad, stupid thing and he will pay for that by never living the life he had ever again.

        1. Dont say he did a bad, stupid thing – we have no idea if he did this.  What is true is he will never live the life he had again.  Guilty or innocent is irrelavent with the internet – he will always have a cloud of suspecion.  If you are a friend – dont assume guilt.

          1. We always should presume innocence until proven otherwise in a court of law.  I agree, but the evidence is overwhelming.

          2. I feel for him and his family for sure!  That evidence would be overwhelming.  If what you say is true – what he must have been going through must have been devistating!

      2. Just because a gun is found, doesn’t mean he was involved in any crime.  How many conceal carry permits exist out there?  Here is a good question – If a GPS device was in a stack of cash that lead the police to conclude the vehicle was in that intersection – wouldnt that mean the cash and the device was in that intersection also?  Wel, if that cash and device isn’t found in the car – then it just might be THE WRONG CAR!!  I saw the pictures of the guy in the bank – did that look like a bee-keeper mask?  I don’t think so.  Lets not be too quick to judge here – it is possible that the cops have it wrong again!!

  7. I am impressed with the crtical thinking skills of those who see Mr. Paetsch as some sort of victim and can completly ignore the fact that the civil rights of countless citizens were trampled by a two hour delay caused by a police search and handcuffing of innocent bystanders.

    Will this criminal end up walking because of this illegal search and seizure? Can this “nice man” be evaluated on his moral and criminal behavior? Or are we bound to discover how society let this crook down?

    The police action in this case and the impact on our rights should be the story. 

    1. The police action that was taken, abridged the rights of the citizen involved.  If they had a way to track the money, then they should have waited until the situtation had fewer people involved.  I agree that what happened to these innocent by-standers is an important story, but *this* particular story is about the music teacher turned bad.

      I do not under any circumstances condone the actions of Christian, armed bank robbery is one of the most serious crimes possible.  However, I think what concerns me most is that there could easily be a thousand character witnesses to testify that he is someone that could be considered an ideal citizen.  If he could do this crime, then under the right circumstances, anyone of us could too.

      I do consider Christian to be a victim.  This is a desparate act.  No one wakes up one morning and just decides that it might be fun to rob a bank.  He must have felt there were no other options.

        1.  I am saddened by the fact that nobody views the peacefulness of Christian’s arrest.  Violence justified?  Peaceful arrest unjustified?  I am a 14 year former student of Western Academy of Music.  A friend, a ear, a helper all.  This man was in despair.  I am sad also Christian did not seek help from all his friends when in a compromising situation, but on the other hand, maybe he thought owning his problem was a manning-up thing.  Maybe pride caused the downfall?  It is done.  The court process will finish it.  Don’t forget:  F.B.I. was involved in this activity.  I hope there is justice for all.  In my life, I have rarely witnessed justice, but I hope this is an anomaly.  The act was or deed was done and needs just punishment; there is no denying a crime with gun was committed and money was taken.  It would be an injustice for Christian to get a slap on the hand for the two counts of Federal crime.  HE COMMITTED A CRIME.  Don’t cloud it over by putting emPHAsis on the wronged public instead of the felon who caused the 2-hour delay.

          1. There were two crimes committed that day.  The bank robbery, and the illegal action of the police in violating the 4th admendment rights of innocent by-standers.  Yes, Christian committed a crime, and should be tried for it.  However, he did not cause the scene on the street that day.  That was the decision of the police.  If they had a way to track the money, then they should have waited for a better situtation.  A desparate man with guns in a crowd of people is not safe.  Oates is an idiot.

          2. Yes a crime was committed – but we don’t know if Christian committed a crime – Come on!!  We know somebody did.  We know a gun and a bee-keeper mask was found in his car.  Was that the mask used in the robbery?  The pics don’t look like a bee-keeper mask to me.  Lots of people have a conceal carry permit and have guns in their car.  If there was a tracking device in the cash that lead the cops to that intersection – that would mean the cash/GPS device was in one of those cars.  But did you hear any reports of finding the cash in Christian’s vehicle?  NO.  This tells me the cops have the wrong guy.  The cash/device was probably in one of the cars, but the cops missed it.  I do agree that Oates is an idiot.  Lots of people could have been caught in crossfire.  But there is quite possible that they have the wrong guy. 

          3. Christian hasn’t been convicted, that is true, we will have to wait and see how he pleads.  But my sources who are close to him have indicated that he is sorry for what he did.

          4. You sound like he is guilty already – Perhaps he ISN’T a man in despair – perhaps they have the WRONG GUY.  Perhaps HE DIDN”T COMMIT A CRIME.  Lots of people carry guns in their car – lots of conceal carry permits out there.  The fact the cops say there was  GPS signal that lead them to that stop light would have meant the criminal had the cash and/or the GPS device in their position – they didn’t mention finding the cash or device – so that tells me they have the wrong car.  Did anyone continue to monitor the GPS signal to see if it drove away?  They get all hyped up be cause they found a gun – that is not enough.  I think they have the wrong guy.

          5. Again, as much as I hate having to say this, the guns, bee-keeper mask, and the cash, including the bag with the tracking device were all found in his SUV. He has also admitted to people close to him that he feels terrible about committing the crime. He did it, there is no question about it. 

          6. I’m sorry – I didnt read that they actually found the cash and the tracking device in the car car too.  Where did you read that?  I’ve looked up everything I can find.  If that is the case, that is a total shame!

      1. What happened to Due Process? By saying “Christian is a victim” means you think he did this – I think the cops have it wrong.  If there was a GPS device that lead them there, wouldnt they have found that in the the cash also in his car?  No mention of finding the cash and GPS – just a gun, a bee keeper mask (the mask in the pictures doesn’t look like what I would call a bee-keeper mask) and what they claim are disguises (who knows what that means – that could be a pair of sunglasses).  If they didn’t find the GPS device that lead them to that intersection – then I think it is the wrong car!

    2. Yes, Capitecensi, we should not let the commission of a violent act in a bank, causing 40 innocent lives to subsequently be put in danger, distract us from the “nice man” that he was!  How many times have we seen news clips of friends and neighbors observing what a “nice man’ a violent offender was?  How much of the public treasure has gone to rehabilitate, or at least warehouse, such “nice men”?  It doesn’t matter whether he was latently violent and “just snapped” – he is now an offender and should be treated like one – not a glorified, anti-hero “victim”.  I think a bizarre case of “Stockholm Syndrome” has descended on some of the commenters.

  8. I disagree that he did not work well with kids.  He is absolutely great with kids.

    1. How-about waiting to see if he truely did do this!!!  If he was a great friend and he is actually innocent because the cops messed this up – he will feel completly betrayed by you – especially when he needs you most – good job.  I hope he had nothing to do with this and there are key logic items I’ve posted that state my position – like where is the money and GPS device that lead them to that intersection, do they have the right mask, and just because you have a gun in your vehicle doesnt make you a criminal.  I think the cops have this wrong and Christian will be innocent, but will still have to pay the price for the rest of his life.

  9. Have any of the people writing as positive character witnesses for the alleged bank robber reached out to his family?   

    The reason that caused him to feel compelled to do this, most likely, still exists. 

    Paetsch made a mistake.  Dan Oates made another.  Both will be forced to answer for them separately.   I don’t blame this man for the stupidity of our police chief. 

    1. What worries me, is that unlike Christian, who feels terrible for what he did, Dan Oates still feels what he did was ok.  I will never feel safe going to Aurora again.  You can be dragged from your car at gun-point and handcuffed for no probable cause and the police think that is ok. 

  10. This is a desperate act of a clearly desperate man. Please, let’s not rush to judgement. He had a momentary lapse of clear thinking. I am appalled at how people who don’t know him at all refer to him as a “nice man”.  He IS a nice man who loved music. Seriously, what kind of desperation has to take over to decide you would rob a bank?  Rather than judge and hate, let’s just all send our love and prayers to his family! They need our prayers right now. 

    1. YOU are rushing to judgement by says he had a momentary lapse of clear thinking – You think he is guilty – that is just sad.  How about YOU hold judgement until you get the facts.  I think the cops messed this up and Christian will end up paying the price the rest of his life.  If they found the cash on him and the GPS device, that would be one thing, but they have him with a gun in the car – was it the same kind of gun?  They have a bee-keeper mask in the car, was that the same kind of mask in the bank robbery?  They didn’t post finding the cash, so I think they got ther wrong car.  The other car may have been right there, but the cops missed it and found his with a gun in it.  That isn’t enough to say he is guilty of bank robbery.

      1. As much as I hate having to say this, the guns, bee-keeper mask, and the cash, including the bag with the tracking device were all found in his SUV. He has also admitted to people close to him that he feels terrible about committing the crime. He did it, there is no question about it. 

  11. This is a pretty shocking story. I was a student of his in APS and a student of him and his wife’s private music studio. Its hard to imagine how things could have ended up like this.  

  12. He is great with kids.  If he did walk out on a class, I’m sure there was much more to this story that your little sister didn’t tell you.  He is stellar and upstanding.  I think the cops completely got this whole thing wrong.

  13. u know whats funny i go to iron horse and hes my old musci teacher thats really funny

  14. Instead of planning to distribute medals for bravery for going above the call of duty, police will now being asked why procedures were not followed as laid out in some book. What can be more stupid ! Perhaps we are not interested in getting the criminals, but in looking at the procedures. One wonders, Is that how police should be rewarded, I think, Police should protest and public should support them.

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