Robber calls bank heist "re-payable loan"

11:59 AM, Jan 23, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - No one suspected the older man with the frail shoulders and scruffy beard was a bank robber.

It just didn't seem possible.

The man was hunched over, shuffling along in the Bank of America on the corner of Gandy and Manhattan on Friday, January 15th.

He walked in late that afternoon wearing a hoodie, a hat worn low and dirty blue jeans.

Bank employees noticed him. In fact, they thought he looked a little suspicious when he didn't take his hoodie off.

But this guy, they thought, is just a little old man trying to make a deposit.

Turns out, he had other plans.

Detective Ray Estevez from the Tampa Police Department District One tells us, "When you look at a guy like this, who goes into a bank and does something in apparent desperation, it lets you know that good people are starting to do bad things."

Detective Estevez says one of the more promising pieces of evidence in this crime is the surveillance tape, which provides clear pictures of the suspect.

In one part of the video, the elderly man is seen walking up to the teller's window where he hands the woman behind the counter a note.

Turns out, the note was actually a deposit slip that the man filled out right there in the lobby.  In shaky writing, he listed his demands.  Detectives say the guy asked for a very small amount of money, calling it a "re-payable" loan.

"You feel sympathy for someone that has found themselves doing this, no justification, but you can always understand someone's justification," Detective Estevez says.

So, the question is how did this frail man manage to make it out the door?

He shuffled out slowly.

The irony in this is that three military personnel were standing right there outside the exit at an ATM withdrawing cash.  They saw the man leave, but never thought anything of it.

After all, he was supposedly just a little old man.

"He may look like an older frail gentleman committing an act of desperation, but he could be a cold blooded criminal released from prison and armed to the teeth and ready for a confrontation. You never know what you're dealing with," Detective Estevez tells us.

That's the reason no one went after the elderly man as he shuffled out the door.  No one knew if he had a gun.

Detective Estevez adds, "Nothing is normal... anymore.  [The] economy is rough. People are getting desperate."

To visit the Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay website, click here.


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