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Fingerprint links suspect to theft

By Times Staff Writer
Published May 26, 2004

CLEARWATER - A fingerprint left on a bank slip has helped tie a man to the robbery of a Clearwater Beach bank last year.

Anthony G. Valdez, 32, of Tampa, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Friday on a robbery charge. He is accused of robbing SunTrust bank, 423 Mandalay Ave., on March 12, 2003. He was arrested in Hillsborough County 10 days later in connection with several robberies and other crimes.

In the Clearwater Beach case, a man entered the bank, approached a teller and began filling out a withdrawal slip. He then displayed a gun and threatened to kill the teller if she didn't hand over cash. The teller complied and the robber left. A fingerprint examiner pulled a print off the withdrawal slip and determined that it belonged to Valdez, reports state.

Detective Chris Housholder found photographs of Valdez and noticed he resembled surveillance photos of the bank robber. He also showed the photos to Valdez's mother and brother. Both said the photos were of Valdez. Valdez told Housholder while in the Hillsborough County Jail that he had a heroin problem and couldn't remember robbing the bank, but said the surveillance photos resembled him. Valdez was transferred to Pinellas County from Hillsborough County last week.

[Last modified May 26, 2004, 01:00:46]


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