Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested two men with extensive criminal records yesterday, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in connection with the May 22, 2014 robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank branch located on Cypress Gardens Road, Winter Haven. The men are also believed to have robbed two other banks, one in Kissimmee and one in Leesburg. Taken into custody were: 28-year-old Randall L. Wandell of Lakeland, charged with Robbery with a Firearm, Attempted Robbery and an out of county warrant (failure to register as a sex offender in Hillsborough County); and 26-year-old Ceneca C. Guthridge of Lakeland, charged with Robbery, and Attempted Robbery.
“It should come as no surprise that these suspects have extensive criminal records. Had they been in prison, they could not have robbed these banks. Our criminal justice system is the best in the world, but it is a forgiving system that too frequently allows repeat criminals too many chances, which results in people getting hurt and property being stolen.” --Sheriff Grady Judd
On May 22, surveillance video and witnesses indicated the Wells Fargo bank robbery suspect was a white male, approximately 5’11” to 6’, with a medium build. Indicating he had a gun, he handed the teller a note demanding money and left the bank with cash.
On May 30th, images of a white male, approximately 5’11” to 6’, with a medium build, were captured by video surveillance of a bank robbery suspect at BB&T Bank located on North John Young Parkway in Kissimmee, as he handed the teller a note demanding money.
An observant citizen, seeing the news coverage of the Kissimmee bank robbery investigation, recognized the images as likely the same suspicious person seen in the Fifth/Thirds Bank located on Lakeland Hills Boulevard, Lakeland, approximately 90 minutes before the Kissimmee robbery. The suspect was in the Fifth/Thirds Bank, but there was no robbery.
Video surveillance from the Fifth/Thirds Bank was obtained and PCSO Robbery detectives determined the Kissimmee suspect was indeed the same individual as the one who had been in the Lakeland bank, including that the suspect was wearing the Jacksonville Jaguars ball cap, basketball shoes and was carrying a black laptop bag.
As the investigation continued, detectives learned of another Wells Fargo Bank Robbery that occurred in Leesburg on June 7th. The description and video surveillance images matched the images of the previous cases.
A Crimestoppers tip was received on June 10th indicating that Wandell was a possible suspect from the Fifth/Third Bank robbery (and surveillance images).
Detectives also learned Wandell had an active Hillsborough County Warrant for failure to register as a Sex Offender.
When deputies arrived at Wandell’s Lakeland residence, he was taken into custody on the warrant. When questioned about the robberies, Wandell admitted to robbing the Wells Fargo Bank in Winter Haven and going into the Lakeland Fifth/Thirds Bank in Lakeland with the intent to rob it. He also admitted to robbing the BB&T Bank in Kissimmee and the Wells Fargo Bank in Leesburg.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for Wandell’s residence and located clothing matching the clothing worn during the robberies. Detectives also located ecstasy, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and marijuana.
Wandell’s wife, 29-year-old Rachel Wandell, was also arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.
Detectives determined that Wandell had not acted alone and discovered that Ceneca Guthridge was Wandell’s accomplice – he drove Wandell to the robberies. A search warrant was obtained for the residence at which Guthridge was located. During the search, detectives found a black bag containing a hat, glasses, shirt and tie that exactly match what Wandell wore during the Fifth/Thirds Bank incident and BB&T (Kissimmee) Bank robbery. Detectives also located a suit believed to be the one Wandell wore during the Winter Haven Wells Fargo Robbery, along with $380 in cash stuffed in a towel in the bathroom.
Guthridge was taken into custody; a further search of Guthridge’s personal property revealed ecstasy and marijuana. Detectives also arrested 28-year-old William Hodges, who was visiting Guthridge’s residence at the time detectives arrived. Hodges was on probation for attempted murder and robbery. Hodges was charged with violation of his probation.
Both Wandell and Guthridge are facing drug related charges as well. Charges for the other bank robberies in other jurisdictions are pending from those investigating agencies.
Wandell’s prior Florida arrest history includes:
01/05/11, probation violation
05/01/10, probation violation
08/13/08, probation violation
06/01/06, lewd battery
09/30/05, lewd molestation
07/05/05, grand theft
Guthridge’s prior Florida arrest history includes:
08/17/12, probation violation
08/10/12, fail to appear
03/28/12, fail to appear
08/09/11, probation violation
06/07/11, probation violation
12/05/10, probation violation
11/21/09, fraud, burglary, larceny
01/04/09, possession cocaine, marijuana, drug equipment
04/03/08, possession marijuana, drug equipment
10/11/07, possession marijuana