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Crime & Courts

Tampa couple charged in series of 15 bank robberies

TBO.com staff
Published:   |   Updated: November 9, 2013 at 08:38 AM

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A Tampa couple was arrested Thursday and charged with conspiracy in a series of 15 bank robberies, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Immanuel Lee Williams, 28, and his wife Cara Lee Williams, 28, of Tampa, are accused of robbing 13 banks in Florida and two in Alabama, using disguises and notes to demand money, FBI agents said in a criminal complaint.

The alleged robberies took place between December 2012 and October of this year, and included two Chase Bank branches in Tampa, a Chase Bank in Brandon and a MidFlorida Credit Union in Plant City, as well as banks in Orlando, Ocala, Lakeland and Seffner.

If convicted on all charges, each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

Federal investigators said there were similarities that linked the robberies, including the use of gloves, afro style wigs, and demand notes written on yellow index cards. On several occasions the suspect showed the tellers a gun, the complaint said.

Surveillance video from the robberies shows the suspect as a black male, approximately six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, with features matching Immanual Lee Williams, the complaint said.

Surveillance video from the robbery of the Edison National Bank in Fort Myers shows the suspect fleeing on foot before getting into a white Mustang driven by a white woman, the complaint said. That car matches the description of 2012 Mustang registered to Cara Lee Williams, the complaint said.

Agents also said surveillance video shows a suspect getting into the passenger seat of a black Mercedes SUV, similar to one registered to Cara Lee Williams, after a robbery at the MidFlorida Credit Union in Davenport.

Both individuals made their initial court appearances in Tampa on Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli. A bond hearing is set for Cara Lee Williams on Nov. 14 at 11:30 a.m. Immanuel Lee Williams is being held without bail.

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