Authorities: Orange Park bank hit by FBI 'Most Wanted' serial robber

Myron Ernst linked to 8 recent bank robberies in Florida, Alabama, FBI says

By Scott Johnson - Reporter, Frank Powers - Assignment manager, Colette DuChanois - Web producer

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - Federal and local law enforcement are on the hunt for a man accused of robbing more than a half-dozen banks in the Southeast, the most recent holdup occurring at the SunTrust Bank on Blanding Boulevard, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office. 

After the robbery Wednesday morning at the SunTrust Bank in Orange Park, deputies announced that they identified the serial bank robbery suspect as Myron William Ernst, who appears on one of the FBI's "Most Wanted" lists.

FBI poster         VIEW: 'Wanted by the FBI' poster |
SLIDESHOW: Surveillance images of serial robbery suspect

Authorities said Ernst, 60, recently violated his probation and has 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.

The FBI said he 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 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, who is described as being 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 145 to 170 pounds and having black/gray hair and brown eyes with a scar on his right forearm.

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
Note: The FBI says the eighth one happened in the Orlando area.

According to the FBI, Ernst is only charged with the robbery in Lakeland. He is suspected in seven others.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to Ernst's arrest. The "Wanted by the FBI" poster notes "Ernst is known to have violent tendencies and is an escape risk." 

Anyone with information about him or his whereabouts is asked to call 911, call the Sheriff's Office at 904-264-6512, submit a tip at claysheriff.com/see-something-say-something or call First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIP.

There was another bank robbery across the river at the Wells Fargo in Bartram Park, but Jacksonville police said it was not connected. 

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