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Band-Aid Bandit, accomplice guilty

Early edition: It took a jury less than four hours to convict the men responsible for robbing banks all over the state.

By CARRIE WEIMAR
Published April 12, 2007


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TAMPA – For six years, the man known as the Band-Aid Bandit and his accomplice eluded police as they struck one bank after another throughout the Tampa Bay area.

A prosecutor said the evidence linking Rafael Rondon and his former brother-in-law, Emeregildo Roman, to those crimes was overwhelming.

A federal jury agreed.

On Thursday, they found Rondon and Roman guilty of conspiracy, bank robbery and illegal gun charges.

Rondon, believed to be the Bandit, faces 132 years in prison. Roman, his accomplice, could be sentenced to 107 years, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Murphy Davis.

Neither Roman nor Rondon showed any emotion as the verdict was read. Rondon’s sister, who is also Roman’s ex-wife, sobbed.

Several of the tellers victimized by the Bandit were in the courtroom for the verdict. They expressed gratitude to the law enforcement officers who caught and prosecuted Rondon and Roman, and relief they no longer had to fear the notorious robbers.

“We finally have some closure on this awful life experience,” said Joseph Atanasio, former manager of the Mercantile Bank in Tampa, which was robbed by the Bandit and his accomplice in October 2005. “It feels so good.”

Anita Hearl, branch manager of the Capital City bank in Spring Hill, said she wasn’t surprised by the verdict.

“It was the only outcome there could be,” said Hearl, who was robbed in October 2004.

Murphy Davis gave credit for the conviction to the officers on the Band-Aid Bandit task force for collecting so much evidence. Rondon’s palm prints were found at three of the banks, and a search of both men’s houses turned up wigs, mustaches, guns and nearly $200,000 in cash, most of it still wrapped in bank straps.

“I especially applaud the verdict on behalf of the tellers, the victims, and everyone who was put through this horrible ordeal,” Murphy Davis said. “Hopefully, they can get on with their lives now.”    

 

 

[Last modified April 12, 2007, 14:38:51]


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