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Manatee cops search for 4 bank robbers

MANATEE - Authorities were looking for four men who robbed a south Manatee bank this morning.

The gunmen, who were armed with rifles and handguns, entered the M&I Bank in the 6800 block of 15th Street East about 9:30 a.m., and at least one of them jumped the counter. They fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash in a car authorities believe had been stolen.

Detectives said there were eight to 10 employees in the bank. No one was injured in the hold-up.

Officials earlier said there were three gunmen but later said there were four suspects.

Investigators this morning were gathering evidence at the bank, including an exploded dye pack found in the parking lot. They also found the possible getaway vehicle, a red Buick LeSabre, nearby in the 1800 block of 67th Avenue East near the Central Park of Commerce building. The engine was still running when authorities arrived.

The suspects were described as wearing dark clothing.

In addition to the sheriff's office, agents from the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement also responded to the robbery.

Anyone with information about the robbery can call the sheriff's office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.

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