Father-son duo charged in bank robberies

MANATEE -- A father and his son from Sarasota led law enforcement on a chase before they were arrested Friday night and charged with the May 18 armed robbery of Chase Bank, 4915 Manatee Ave. E. and the May 25 robbery of Iberia Bank, 5844 14th St. W.

The suspects, Brent Leroy Henson 51, and Brandon Lee Henson, 18, were apprehended after they crashed their Oldsmobile Aurora into a wall in front of the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art at the intersection of University Parkway and U.S. Highway 41, said Capt. Warren Merriman of the Bradenton Police Department.

"We got a tip Thursday and detectives followed up," Merriman said of the pair, who used a syringe in their crime spree. "We have a father-son duo."

The tip led detectives to a Walgreens on University Parkway where surveillance video helped determine that the suspects were driving the Oldsmobile, Merriman added.

On Friday afternoon, led by Bradenton Police Det. Greg Price, who is also a member of the FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force, officials with Sarasota Police Department, Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, Manatee County Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement found the car and secretly observed from a distance as its occupants cased several banks all along University Parkway, Merriman said.

Although the suspects didn't try to rob any banks, they were asked to pull over at Tuttle and Bahia Vista avenues in Sarasota Friday night and sped away, Merriman said.

They led officials along the Sarasota Bayfront before crashing at the Ringling.

"We think the bank robber was the father and the son was his accomplice," Merriman said.

On May 18, a suspect, wearing a medical mask, entered Chase Bank about 6:15 p.m. He allegedly displayed a syringe filled with an unknown liquid and demanded money, a news release stated.

The suspect fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

The suspect in the first robbery is described as a dark-haired 6-foot male, weighing 150-160 pounds.

A suspect, wearing a blue motorcycle helmet, entered Iberia Bank about 4 p.m. May 25. He asked the bank manager for assistance and stabbed her in the arm with a syringe, a report stated.

The suspect jumped behind the counter and emptied a drawer with an unknown amount of money, the report stated.

The suspect, described as a 5-foot-7 man weighing about 130 pounds, fled on foot.