It’s not the first time the man suspected of robbing a SunTrust Bank branch in Bradenton has held up a financial institution.
James Fogarty, 44, was released from a federal prison in September after serving nine years for robbing six banks in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Hillsborough counties in less than a month’s time, stealing more than $13,000.
On Wednesday, Fogarty once again found himself in handcuffs for yet another bank robbery.
At 3:49 p.m., detectives say Fogarty walked into SunTrust Bank, 5714 14th St. W., handed a note demanding money to a teller and then fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives were able to identify Fogarty as the suspect within a few hours, and he was in custody less than six hours after the robbery.
On Thursday afternoon, Fogarty appeared before Circuit Judge Robert Farrance for his appearance hearing. His bond is set at $75,000, but that bond cannot be posted until a hearing is held for Fogarty to prove that any money used for his bond wasn’t stolen.
Fogarty was appointed by the Public Defender’s Office to represent him. A Manatee County native, Fogarty spoke briefly to answer the judge’s questions and said he lives with his brother’s ex-wife. He was also ordered not to enter any SunTrust banks.
Assistant State Attorney Dickey Hough argued for Fogarty’s bond to be raised to at least $500,000, given his criminal history and that each time he was released from prison, he committed similar crimes soon thereafter.
Fogarty was convicted of a robbery in 1992 after violating the probation he was given when the conviction initially was withheld. He is also convicted of two counts of armed burglary and four counts of attempted burglary of an unoccupied structure from 1995 and was sentenced to three years and seven months.
Released from prison in December 1997, Fogarty was ordered to serve one year of probation. But he violated that probation when he was arrested in October 1998 and charged with grand theft of $300 to $5,000 and five counts of dealing in stolen property.
Fogarty was convicted of those charges and violating his probation. He was then sentenced to four years prison.
In May 2003, Fogarty was again released from prison. Six months later, he would again be arrested, and that time he was charged and later pleaded guilty to attempted burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. He was then sentenced five years and one month prison.
In July 2008, Fogarty was last released from state prison. On Sept. 9, 2008, however, Fogarty began what would become a bank robbing spree, hitting six banks in four counties in less than a month’s time.
Between Sept. 9 and Oct. 3, 2008, Fogarty robbed a SunTrust Bank, 109 44th Ave. E., Bradenton; a Bank of America, 5315 39th St. E., Bradenton; a Bank Atlantic, 301 W. Brandon Blvd., Brandon; a Cadence Bank, 8592 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota; a Calusa National Bank, 1850 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte; and a Trustco Bank, 2704 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota.
Fogarty pleaded guilty to all six bank robberies and was sentenced to nine years in federal prison as part of a plea agreement, according to court documents. Following his release from prison on Sept. 2, he was ordered to serve three years of supervised release.
He could have faced up to 20 years in federal prison. He now may face an additional charge and time in federal prison for violating the conditions of his supervised release.