Manatee bank robbery suspect arrested

A local man was arrested and confessed Tuesday night to a bank robbery after his wife saw a surveillance photo on an evening newscast and called authorities, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Earlier Tuesday, Troy Sandifar, 45, brazenly robbed the First Bank at 4601 Manatee Ave. W. at about 10:50 a.m. and sprinted down 46th Street West with stolen money in his fists, according to a sheriff’s office report.

Despite the efforts of K-9 dogs, a SWAT team and a circling helicopter, however, the man seen clearly in surveillance images with a pony tail and scruffy beard was not immediately found.

Then at approximately 6:30 p.m., Afra Sandifar called the sheriff’s office and identified her husband as the man in the surveillance photo, the report stated. Troy Sandifar then retrieved an unknown amount of money from under a fake fireplace in the living room and fled the apartment in a silver Chevy Cavalier, saying he was going to kill himself.

A few minutes later, a deputy spotted the vehicle driving westbound on Cortez Road from 14th Street West. Several units conducted a stop at 20th Street and Cortez Road, during which Troy Sandifar refused to follow commands nor exit the vehicle, the report stated.

Sandifar was then seen swallowing a large amount of what appeared to be rock cocaine as he sat in the driver’s seat, according to the report; Sandifar had locked himself inside the vehicle and continued to refuse commands to exit the car.

A deputy then smashed the driver’s window and Sandifar was extracted from the vehicle after a brief struggle, and he was placed under arrest, the report stated.

He was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital for treatment for the ingestion of drugs, the report stated.

A deputy interviewed Sandifar at the hospital and obtained a full confession, according to the report.

Sandifar was later transferred to the Manatee County jail, where he was being held without bond, according to the jail's website.