More charges in robberies

The duo investigators say are the Band-Aid Bandit and his partner face six counts of bank robbery and six counts of carrying a firearm.

Published August 11, 2006

TAMPA - The man authorities call the Band-Aid Bandit and his accomplice were formally charged late Wednesday with robbing six banks in the Tampa Bay area.

Rafael Angel Rondon, 50, and his brother-in-law and alleged accomplice, Emeregildo Roman, 54, were also charged with six counts of carrying a firearm.

The maximum penalty for the bank robbery charges is 25 years in prison. The firearms charges are punishable by seven years in prison for the first charge, followed by 25 years for each additional charge.

Rondon and Roman were initially charged with robbing three banks. The 12-count indictment handed up by the grand jury Wednesday added three more to the total.

According to the indictment, the duo netted more than $500,000 from the heists.

Steve Cole, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said he could not provide details about how authorities linked the men to the three additional robberies.

"These are the six cases we felt we had strong evidence for," Cole said. "Beyond that, we can't go into any detail."

However, during a bail hearing in U.S. District Court in Tampa last month, Steve Davenport, a special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said investigators were comparing Rondon's and Roman's fingerprints and palm prints to those found at robbery scenes.

Lawyers for Rondon and Roman did not return telephone calls seeking comment Thursday.

The indictment goes on to say that authorities are seizing the suspects' property, including Rondon's home in Clermont.

Cole said the government is entitled to seize property if authorities think it was bought with money from illegal activities.

In cases like Rondon's, where the house is seized, family members must find somewhere else to live, Cole said.

Roman and Rondon are being held without bail in Hillsborough County jails.

The government also took a Lincoln Navigator, a Chevrolet Blazer, a Dodge pickup, a Mitsubishi Eclipse, a Chrysler 300C and a semitrailer truck.

The Band-Aid Bandit eluded authorities for more than six years and was suspected in the robberies of 39 banks in the Tampa Bay area.

He was given the nickname because he was frequently seen on surveillance tapes with a Band-Aid covering a large mole on his face.

Rondon and Roman were arrested July 20 after agents raided their homes.

At Rondon's, investigators found a cooler packed with disguises, unexploded dye packs, nearly $90,000 still wrapped in bank bands and a box of Band-Aids.

A trial date has not yet been set.

Carrie Weimar can be reached at 813 226-3416 or cweimar@sptimes.com.


- Capital City Bank in Spring Hill, October 2004.

- Gold Bank in Sarasota, December 2004.

- Colonial Bank in New Port Richey, May 2005.

- Mercantile Bank in Tampa, October 2005.

- Wachovia Bank in Hudson, December 2005.

- Fifth Third Bank in Pinellas Park, July 2006.