Local Police Taking on Bank Robbery Investigations

Leon County's Robbery Task Force says the shift shouldn't change much around here. A manhunt followed a holdup at the Bank of America on North Monroe Street in Tallahassee last November. It turns out the man arrested was wanted for as many as a dozen bank robberies in the southeast, and he told local investigators he would only confess to the FBI.

Detective Todd Lombardo of the Robbery Task Force says, "He agreed to talk with a federal agent because he wanted to be prosecuted federally rather than state by state, so they helped us out with that."

The FBI, according to its Miami division director, "doesn't have the resources to go out and respond to all bank robberies" as agents are increasingly involved in anti-terrorism efforts.

In Tallahassee, which has about a dozen bank holdups a year, police and sheriff's investigators usually do the interviewing and evidence gathering; that won't change.

Mike Suleski of the Robbery Task Force says, "I don't think it'll have much impact at all. The task force is pretty good, the citizens will be safe. We have a very high clearance rate in our bank robberies and I'm confident that if we need them the FBI will be more than happy to come out and assist us."

Leon County's Robbery Task Force says it will continue to rely on the FBI for its ability to track trends, and an FBI spokesman says it will be ready to help if robberies become violent like the holdup in Brevard County last week, in which customers were forced to the floor and tellers were beaten before their eyes.

The Robbery Task Force, which is made up of Tallahassee police and Leon County sheriff's deputies, has a high success rate in arresting bank robbers. It has only one unsolved case this year.