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FBI 'Most Wanted' serial bank robbery suspect arrested in Lakeland

Myron Ernst linked to 9 recent bank robberies in Florida, Alabama, FBI says

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A man accused of robbing more than a half-dozen banks in the Southeast over the last two months was taken into federal custody Thursday during a traffic stop in Florida, authorities said.

Myron William Ernst was arrested in Lakeland, about halfway between Orlando and Tampa, by members of the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force, the Lakeland Police Department, the Polk County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol. 

According to the FBI,  Ernst, 60, was driving the truck authorities said he stole from a South Carolina dealership before the bank robbery spree began in early October. 

SLIDESHOW: Surveillance images of serial robbery suspect

His arrest comes just one day after the Clay County Sheriff's Office said Ernst robbed the Orange Park SunTrust Bank on Blanding Boulevard Wednesday morning. 

Authorities said Ernst recently violated his probation and had been on the run from South Carolina.

According to the FBI, Ernst pleaded guilty to robbing six banks, including the Bank of America in Orange Park in 2009, and was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison in 2010.

He won early release in August and was placed on supervised probation.

Bank robbery timeline

Oct. 5: Wells Fargo in Orlando, Florida
Oct. 9: Bank of America in Orange Park, Florida
Oct. 12: TD Bank in Lakeland, Florida
Oct. 22: Regions Bank in Hoover, Alabama
Nov. 7: Regions Bank in Montgomery, Alabama
Nov. 13: Wells Fargo in Ocala, Florida (attempt)
Nov. 14: SunTrust Bank in Orange Park
Nov. 15: Fifth Third Bank in Orlando
Note: The FBI says a ninth one happened in the Orlando area.

The FBI said Ernst ditched his monitoring device in September, and another robbery spree began in Alabama and Florida, including a holdup Oct. 12 at the TD Bank on U.S. Highway 98 North in Lakeland, Florida. The FBI said Ernst entered the bank, showed a note indicating he had a firearm and then took off with $2,265 money in a newer-model, dark gray Ford F-150 pickup truck. 

On Oct. 31, the FBI said, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Ernst, charging him with the Lakeland bank robbery.

According to the charge filed in federal court, the note was handwritten in all capital letters, saying: 
"I HAVE A GUN I WILL BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT & EVERYONE ELSE IN THE BANK $2,500 IN 100'S NO DYE PACKS NO ALARMS NO TRACKING DEVICES YOU HAVE 30 SECONDS."

The court document, obtained by News4Jax on Friday, also revealed Ernst had an accomplice, saying a woman was seen driving the getaway truck. 

After Ernst was captured Thursday, the Ocala Police Department announced it has charged Ernst with attempted armed robbery. 

According to the FBI, he is suspected in seven other holdups. He had appeared on one of the FBI's "Most Wanted" lists up until Thursday.


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