Thanks to teamwork and swift action by Mid-Florida Credit Union employees and Polk County Sheriff's deputies, a bank robbery suspect was arrested just minutes after he robbed the bank at gunpoint in Davenport on New Year's Eve.
According to the affidavit, at 9:00 a.m. on December 31, 2012, 28-year-old Russell Lester Sanford, Jr., DOB 5/30/1984, of 1209 Lakewood Road in Davenport, entered the aforementioned bank, which is located at 300 Ambersweet Way in Davenport, approached the bank manager and several tellers, and demanded money. Russell was armed with a loaded semi-automatic handgun.
The bank manager and tellers immediately triggered the alarm reporting the robbery in progress to PCSO, and after the suspect fled described the suspect and his vehicle over the phone to PCSO. The suspect was described as a white male with brown hair, wearing band-aid bandages on his face, a black jacket, and a ball cap, driving a red Jeep pickup truck. One of the tellers was also able to take a photo of the suspect truck as it fled. The suspect information was sent out via BOLO (Be On Look Out) via PCSO radio dispatch.
At 9:04 a.m., PCSO Deputy Sheriff Mark Dainty, a 5-year veteran of the agency currently assigned to the Northeast District patrol, spotted the suspect vehicle heading south on U.S. 27 near Calabay Park and Harrell Road, being driven by a suspect matching the description. Deputy Dainty immediately turned around (he was heading northbound toward the scene of the crime) and conducted a traffic stop on the truck, calling for backup.
Deputy Dainty ordered the driver of the truck to get out of the vehicle and lay facedown on the ground -- the driver complied. PCSO Deputy Sheriff Brian Bruchey, also a 5-year veteran of the agency and assigned to Northeast District patrol, responded as backup and removed a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun out of the suspect's waistband. The firearm had one round loaded in the chamber. A bag filled with money from the bank was located inside the truck.
Post-Miranda, Sanford admitted to driving his vehicle with a suspended license, for which he was charged with Knowingly DWLSR, and to robbing the bank, for which he was charged with Armed Robbery. Sanford told detectives that he wanted money because he was tired of seeing younger people driving newer vehicles than his and that he couldn't afford to pay his traffic citations. He said he had been planning the bank robbery for two days.
"These brave Mid-Florida employees were able to overcome their terror after having just been robbed at gunpoint, and swiftly and accurately report the suspect description to law enforcement as soon as this crime occurred. Thanks to their help and a quick perimeter, we were able to capture this armed robbery suspect just four minutes after he committed this crime. Luckily, nobody was hurt, and now Russell Sanford will be celebrating the first day of the year in our jail." - Sheriff Grady Judd