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Same suspects, new bank heist

Three of the four men arrested in Wednesday's bank robbery are suspected of robbing a Floral City bank in 1999.

By PATRICK COOPER

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2001


INVERNESS -- Three suspects in the December 1999 Floral City bank robbery were arrested with a fourth man Wednesday afternoon on charges that they robbed a Marion County bank and attempted to evade authorities.

Independent National Bank in Belleview was robbed about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The case drew attention from investigators at the Citrus County Sheriff's Office and several other Florida law enforcement agencies.

The men were captured in Sumter County. Under arrest were Twayne Allen, 22, of Wildwood; Nehemiah Parsons, 23, of Bushnell; Jermaine Simmons, 21, of Bushnell; and William Stevenson, 24, of Clearwater.

Authorities held the men on charges of armed robbery. They remained at the Sumter County jail with bails varying from $100,000 to none.

Allen, Simmons and Parsons were suspected of robbing $27,000 from the Capital City Bank branch in Floral City.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Allen in October, citing insufficient evidence. He was released from jail, where he had been awaiting trial.

Although never arrested, Simmons was a longtime suspect in the case. The warrant for him was dropped in October after authorities could not find him. Parsons also was a suspect for some time, officials have said.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office still considers Allen and another suspect, Daniel Lecole Law, as the prime suspects in the Floral City case.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Ronda Hemminger Evan said the case "is still an open, active investigation."

With Wednesday's events, "our detectives will meet with the other agencies to see what similarities there are," Evan said.

Law is being held in Sumter County Jail on several unrelated charges.

The arrests have drawn the attention of investigators from Tallahassee, Tampa, Hernando County and Sumter County, according to Belleview police Lt. Terry Holland.

In Belleview on Wednesday, as two of the three armed men jumped the bank counter and took money from bank tellers' safes, the third stood in the lobby and controlled the five people working at the bank, Holland said. There were no customers in the building at the time.

After taking the money, the men fled in a getaway car that had been carjacked the previous night in Hernando County, then ditched the car two blocks away and hopped in another car driven by a fourth suspect, police said.

A witness spotted the tag number on that second car, which Sumter County sheriff's deputies located about 2 p.m.

Holland said Allen and Stevenson jumped out of the car near Webster and attempted to escape, but were chased and caught. According to Sumter Lt. Gary Brannen, the other two were caught after they drove off the road to avoid police and got stuck.

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