Good Samaritans help arrest serial bank robber

Residents stall a suspected serial bank robber until law enforcement arrives.

SARASOTA, Fla. - Avery Williams, 36, waived his first appearance, but he showed up to court anyway.

An unusual move, but so was his apology.

“He was nice about the whole thing,” says Tony Desantis, good Samaritan.

Desantis, his friend Adam Cohen and another neighbor across the street helped stall Williams for deputies after he ran from a bank robbery at Florida Central Credit Union on Wednesday afternoon.

 “He apologized," Desantis says. "'Man, sorry for bringing you guys into this, sorry I scared you.' I felt bad for the guy. Something went real wrong in his life to think robbing banks was the answer."

 Katelyn Perez with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office says, “Not only did he admit to the robbery in Sarasota on Wednesday, but six other robberies in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.”

Williams tried hiding out in a homeowner's backyard shed, but he picked the wrong house.

The homeowner says he saw Williams run in, so he grabbed his revolver and fired two warning shots.

“We heard the 2nd gunshot, (so we) get up, hot and sweaty, in the garage (and) walked to refrigerator to grab a drink," Desantis said. "He started coming up to the garage, not running, just a quick pace. ... I threw him a bottle of water (because) he looked hot and thirsty. He said his car broke down."

But when they looked there wasn’t any car. Desantis called 911.

Meanwhile, Desantis’ friend Adam Cohen, who is a retired NYPD police officer, kept an eye on Williams.

"I said just hang out like that," Cohen said. "He made an advance towards me. I stepped back and I said, listen, it’s not going to go down that way.

"He was nervous.  ... Once he knew there was no place to go, (with) Tony backing me in the front and heard the sirens, he reached back threw evidence on the ground.”

Cohen says the evidence turned out to be the clothes and hat Williams allegedly wore during the bank robbery.

“After he dropped the clothes, he said, 'You got me.' I said, 'You know what to do," and he walked over to the car, hands on car, spread legs,” says Cohen.

Cohen says after Williams was arrested he felt the same adrenalin rush as he did when he made a bust as a Brooklyn cop.

“'We got him!' I said on Facebook. "'I got a bank robber today.'”

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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