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UPDATE: Bank Robbery

Chris Jones: Greene Publishing, Inc.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) has reported that four individuals have been arrested in connection with the Friday, Aug. 25 robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank, located at 200 W Base St., in Madison. The suspects fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of US currency in a gold Toyota sedan, which was later located on I-10 traveling east. The suspects’ vehicle exited I-10 onto CR 255 and the suspects were apprehended during a traffic stop at the Loves Travel Stop located at 204 SE County Rd. 255, in Lee, approximately 15 miles from the bank. Four suspects were taken into custody without further incident and booked into the Madison County Jail.

The case is being worked by the Madison Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The FBI is involved because a bank robbery is a federal crime. Due to the nature of the crime, many details of the joint investigation have not yet been released.

Madison County dispatch initially received a call reporting a white male, wearing a black shirt and carrying a handgun, chasing a woman outside of Wells Fargo. Responding law enforcement initially searched for the man in the black shirt, eventually detaining him and taking him back inside the bank. According to law enforcement, the “woman” was apparently one of the four suspects and the “man” was a bank customer chasing the suspect. The name of the bank customer, who chased the robber, has yet to be released to the press but one eyewitness said he deserves a medal. The customer reportedly fired shots, but it is currently unknown the direction of those shots. “…in less than one minute, cops were everywhere,” said one witness.

“I was inside of the bank, but didn’t realize what was going on until I heard a loud voice. I turned around and saw a young man with a gun in his hand…” said one witness who was inside the bank during the robbery.

Another witness, who was driving past the area of US 90, said he saw “a woman” running across 90 and into the parking lot of the First Baptist Church, where the gold Toyota was parked. The witness said “At first I thought some guy was shooting a woman. I didn’t know it was a man dressed as a woman.”

Law enforcement obtained information that the suspects fled the scene in a gold sedan. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and MCSO began searching for gold cars on and near Interstate 10. One gold car exited the interstate in Lee on exit 261. Law enforcement units followed the car and conducted a traffic stop, resulting in the arrests of the suspects.

According to Madison County District School Board Chief of Human Capital Sam Stalnaker, in response to the robbery, Madison County Central School, Madison County High School, and James Madison Preparatory High School were put on administrative lockdown, as the direction of the getaway vehicle was unknown, at the time.

The suspects have been identified as 28-year-old Jeremy Jamal Lawson, 40-year-old Robert Leo Watson, 28-year-old Travonta Shavi Harley, and 28-year-old Don’Vell Lenard Johnson. All four suspects are from Mt. Dora, Fl.

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