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Authorities get few tips about dapper bank robber

MANATEE — Only a few tips were received Tuesday by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office after the latest bank robber donned a suit and demanding money.

“The best opportunity we have of getting information from the public is based on the photo,” said Dave Bristow, public information officer for the sheriff’s office. “Maybe he was trying to throw people off by dressing up. ... If that’s what he was trying to do, he did a good job. He almost looked like a businessman.”

The Orion Bank, 2815 University Parkway, was robbed just after noon Monday. The robber walked up to counter and told the teller he needed to make a deposit. The man then placed a blue nylon-style briefcase on the counter and verbally demanded money.

Verbally demanding money was the second most common way to rob a bank, according to FBI third quarter statistics.

Out of 1,358 robberies reported nationally between July and September in 2008, in 757 cases robbers orally demanded money. The most popular method was using a note to rob a bank in which there were 764 cases.

It’s possible the latest robber is from out of the area and chose the University Parkway bank because of its proximity to Interstate 75, Bristow said.

This week’s bank robbery marks the seventh this year in Manatee County.

A serial bank robber, Michele Blalock was recently arrested by Bradenton Police Department. Blalock confessed to five of the bank robberies this year in the county.

In 2007, there were 15 bank robberies reported in Manatee County. In 2008, those figures doubled to a total of 30.

According to FBI statistics, the state of Florida leads the south in the number of bank robberies reported according to 2008 data from January to September. During the third quarter, 71 bank robberies were reported in the state.

The latest robber is described as being between 45 and 50 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds. He has black hair and a black beard.

Anyone with any information can contact the sheriff’s office Detective Rick Alvarado 747-3011 ext. 2513 or remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at (866) 634-TIPS (8477).