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Authorities charge woman with bank robberies

MANATEE — A woman taken into custody in Sarasota has been arrested on charges of robbing three banks in Manatee County, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report.

Michele Lee Blalock, 38, admitted to robbing two banks in Bradenton and one in unincorporated Manatee County since Jan. 30, according to sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow.

Authorities in Sarasota took Blalock into custody just after midnight and she may face charges for a bank robbery in Sarasota as well, according to Bristow.

Detectives tracked Blalock down after a witness in one of the robberies recognized her and called authorities, Bristow said.

Blalock was brought to Manatee County this morning and during questioning, she told detectives she robbed the banks because of drug problems in her family, Bristow said.

She is being held in the Manatee County jail without bond on charges of robbing a Fifth Third Bank on Jan. 30 in the 6600 block of Manatee Avenue West, a Fifth Third Bank on Feb. 4, in the 6600 block of Cortez Road, and a Bank of America on Feb. 14, in the 3400 block of Cortez Road.