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A man and a woman have been arrested for allegedly committing a series of bank robberies earlier this year. The man, along with an unidentified accomplice, allegedly entered banks in three counties, wearing ghost masks, wielding guns, and demanding that the employees open the safe. In a September 26th incident in Altamonte Springs, the trio were claimed to have gotten $22,000 in cash. The woman is reported to have been the getaway driver and supplier of the materials used in the robberies.

The man was also accused of participating in a robbery at a PNC Bank in Davenport on September 25th. Law enforcement officials claim that the man and an unidentified suspect threatened the driver of a vehicle with guns and stole his car, which they used as a getaway vehicle in that alleged incident.

Law enforcement believe that the man was also involved in a robbery that occurred at 7-11 in North Fort Myers. They claim that he hit the store employee with his gun, injuring the man.

On September 27, 2019, investigators took to social media to ask for help in identifying the suspects, offering a $1,000 reward for information. They posted surveillance images of the alleged robberies on Twitter.

On October 9, 2019, law enforcement apprehended the man and woman at a gas station in North Fort Myers. They are still looking for the unidentified accomplice.

The man was charged with Hobbs Act robbery, as well as attempted bank robbery. The woman was charged separately with bank robbery.

Bank Robbery Defined

Under 18 U.S.C. § 2113, bank robbery occurs when a person steals something from a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association.

The manner in which the offense is carried out can include use of:

  • Force,
  • Intimidation, or
  • Extortion

The theft does not have to involve only money. According to the law, a person commits bank robbery if they take any property or item of value that the institution is charged with managing. Additionally, going into a financial institution with the intent of committing or attempting to commit a felony that would hinder the normal business operations could also result in a person being charged with bank robbery.

If the Florida man and woman arrested on suspicion of committing bank robbery are convicted of the offense, they could be fined and imprisoned for up to 20 years.

Hobbs Act Robbery Defined

The Hobbs Act is a law that prohibits a person from interfering with the exchange of goods and services. It was enacted in 1946 mainly as a way to combat racketeering; however, throughout the years, the federal government has used it in various corruption cases. Under U.S.C. 18 § 1951, a person commits this offense when they affect commerce within a state, between states, or with foreign countries by carrying out a robbery or extortion.

If the man involved in the alleged ghost mask bank robberies is found guilty of violating the Hobbs Act, he could face a fine and a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Facing Criminal Charges? Contact Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A.

If you have been accused of committing a state or federal crime, our attorney has the experience and skills needed to challenge the allegations. As a former prosecutor, we know how the other side builds cases and will work to identify weaknesses in the evidence against you.

Schedule your free case review today by calling us at (305) 400-0074 or contacting us online.

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