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Bokeelia bank robber suspect arrested

January 29, 2014
Pine Island Eagle

A DeSoto County man has been arrested and charged with robbing the Bank of America at 5041 Pine Island Road, N.W., in Bokeelia.

Jesse Pence, 36, who is currently being held in Lee County Jail, was arrested Thursday, Jan. 23, not long after the robbery occurred.

According to a report from the Lee County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to the bank at approximately 9:25 a.m. The victim told deputies a male suspect, holding a white trash bag, approached her teller window and demanded money. The victim complied, giving the suspect an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect placed the money into the trash bag and fled to the parking lot of the bank. There he hopped into what was described as a gray or silver SUV, later determined to be a Chevrolet Tahoe.

As the vehicle sped off, witnesses were able to obtain the vehicle's tag number, the report indicates.

Deputies immediately set up a perimeter and searched the area with assistance of aviation and K-9 Units. Meanwhile the tag number led investigators to a residence in Lehigh Acres, where they were able to obtain more information about the suspect.

As an extensive search continued throughout the surrounding neighborhoods in Bokeelia, deputies located a 2002 gray Chevrolet Tahoe at 10632 Tipton Drive. The tag number matched that given by eyewitnesses. The vehicle was parked next to a Winnebago recreational vehicle. Deputies knocked on the door of the RV, at which time a white male opened it. Detectives immediately recognized the male as the one from a BOLO sent out by robbery detectives who were reviewing the bank's surveillance video.

Search warrants were conducted on the vehicles and the Tipton Drive residence. During the search, detectives located the stolen cash as well as clothes that were identical to those worn by the robber in the surveillance video. Eyewitnesses also positively identified Pence as the bank robber.

Pence of 11539 SE Wolf Ave., Arcadia, has been charged with robbery without a weapon. He also had an outstanding warrant for violating his probation on a drug charge, according the LCSO.

The arrest marked the culmination of teamwork from the Lee County Sheriff's Office that included the Fugitive Warrants Unit, Alpha and Gulf District Patrol, Gulf District Criminal Investigation Division (CID), K-9, Aviation and the Robbery Auto Theft (RAT) Unit.



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