Gainesville PD charges ex-con in 2 bank robberies

Donald Richard's 2004 inmate photos, Wells Fargo surveillance image, 2015 booking photo
Donald Richard's 2004 inmate photos, Wells Fargo surveillance image, 2015 booking photo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A 56-year-old man released from prison two years ago after serving time for six bank robberies in the Tampa area is back in jail accused of holding up two Wells Fargo banks in Gainesville in the past month, the Gainesville Police Department said.

Investigators said crime analyst Mary Vaught identified 76 people with a history of robbing banks who had been released in the Gainesville area by the Florida Department of Corrections since 2013 and then visually identified Donald Richard as the robber. He was currently living in Old Town in neighboring Dixie County under the alias Donald Ravenfeather.

"Investigative work is not as glamorous as it always is on TV and in the movies," GPD spokesman Ben Tobias said. "There are detectives out, literally feet on the ground just looking for clues. And then you have those unsung heroes that are behind the scenes that do this. Mary was never out on scene. She was never a part of the arrest team, but her actions alone -- it was her that helped us identify this person.

"He is now in jail for these robberies simply because of her and her dedication to her work."

Ravenfeather's Facebook page showed him wearing the same boots as the person who held up the banks. Two employees of a Veterans Administration housing facility where he used to live were shown the surveillance photo from one of the robberies and identified the man as Ravenfeather.

Gainesville police obtained arrest warrants and went to Ravenfeather's home, where he and his wife were sitting in lawn chairs in the front yard. With the help of Dixie County deputies, Ravenfeather was arrested without incident.

Police said Ravenfeather was wearing the same boots as in both robberies. A search of his home and his wife's truck produced more clothing used in the second robbery, a generic receipt book that bore the imprint of Monday's robbery note and receipts from a Gainesville Walmart where he bought his wife a new tablet and cellphone on Monday.

"It's almost like a TV or a movie case. You could actually still see the imprint on the notepad of the notes that were written," Tobias said.

Ravenfeather's wife identified him in both robbery stills and verified that he borrowed her truck on both Oct. 8 and Monday to "go to town."

Ravenfeather is currently in the Dixie County Jail with bail set at $500,000.