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    Suspect arrested in 3 bank heists

    By CHRIS TISCH

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2001


    A man suspected of holding up three local banks in the last three weeks was arrested Thursday and charged with three counts of robbery, authorities reported.

    William Tuttle, 40, was taken into custody after detectives received an anonymous tip from a caller who saw in the St. Petersburg Times a surveillance photo taken during one of the robberies. Detectives arrested Tuttle near the Sunny Moon Motel, 12600 U.S. 19 N, said Pinellas County sheriff's Sgt. Greg Tita.

    Detectives saw him walking in the roadway and arrested him at gunpoint. Tuttle did not resist, Tita said.

    In all three robberies, a man handed a note to bank tellers that demanded cash, Tita said. He never showed a weapon. When detectives arrested Tuttle, they did not find a weapon in his hotel room, Tita said.

    He said investigators believe the Tuttle was using the money from the bank robberies to buy crack cocaine. None of the money taken from the three banks was found, authorities said.

    Tuttle was charged Thursday with robbing the AmSouth Bank at U.S. 19 and Sunset Point Road on Jan. 30; the United Bank, 5801 49th St. N, on Feb. 8; and the Republic Bank, 5801 Ulmerton Road, on Monday.

    "We were able to get the ball rolling and we got the other investigators involved and we had a joint investigation," said Largo police Capt. John Carroll.

    Investigators said the robber wore a Tampa Bay Bucs cap in two of the robberies.

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