Detectives pursue leads in bank robbery

SARASOTA — Manatee County sheriff detectives continue to follow leads after two armed men robbed a south county bank Monday.

“There have been no arrests yet, but we’re pretty confident,” said Dave Bristow, public information officer for Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

There were customers inside a BB&T bank at 5375 University Parkway when two men wearing stocking caps stormed in at about 10:30 a.m. Monday and jumped the counter, holding employees up at gunpoint.

In 2008, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office investigated 23 bank robberies. In 2009, that number decreased by about 30 percent with the sheriff’s office investigating 16 bank robberies.

A majority of those bank robberies involved bandits writing notes to tellers demanding cash or implying a weapon. Many don’t brandish weapons in the open, according to authorities.

“You don’t have many as aggressive as this and that concerns us,” Bristow said.

The bank heist — the first for the county this year — involved two suspects. At least one of the men was armed.

The suspects were not wearing gloves at the time of the robbery and stuffed an undisclosed amount of money in a black garbage bag before fleeing, according to reports.

It’s unclear how the men left the area, but it’s likely they had a getaway car waiting nearby, Bristow said. A sheriff’s dog attempted to track the men but could not find them.

The first suspect was described as 5-feet, 8-inches to 5-feet, 10-inches tall with a slim build. The second suspect was described as 6-feet tall with a slim build. Both men were described as being in their 20s.

The men were wearing distinctive clothing, including a yellow stocking cap and shirt with stripes.

“It will hopefully give us leads. Somebody might recognize it,” Bristow said.

Anyone with any information about the case can contact Detective Robert Stevenson at (941) 747-3011, ext. 2518, or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers (866) 634-TIPS (8477).