Police: Bank robber took off with his 2 kids in car

GPS helped authorities track down man suspected in Gainesville hold-up

By Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

A 22-year-old Florida man believed to have robbed a Gainesville bank took off after the hold-up with his two children in the car, according to police.

Deionte Swinton of Ruskin, Florida, was found with his two children and their mother in a car pulled over by an Alachua County deputy after the bank robbery, police said. Authorities said the children were in diapers and were secured in car seats.

A joint press release from the Gainesville Police Department and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office said that officers were called just before 1 p.m. Saturday to the Wells Fargo branch on West Newberry Road after a reported robbery.

Surveillance video shows a man wearing a surgical mask entering the bank and passing a note to the teller. Police said the note demanded money and instructed the teller not to alert others in the bank.

The teller complied and the man ran out of the bank on foot into the Oaks Mall parking lot, police said.

A GPS device hidden in the money activated as soon as the man left the bank, and authorities began getting alerts showing the device was headed north on I-75 outside the Gainesville city limits.

Deputy Travis Devinny eventually stopped the vehicle indicated by the tracker near Northwest 218th Avenue and County Road 235A, the release said. He was joined by partners from GPD, Alachua Police Department and High Springs Police Department. 

Police said Swinton was arrested without incident and that it appeared all money stolen from the bank was recovered from the vehicle, along with a handgun. 

Swinton also has a warrant for bank robbery out of Hillsborough County, Florida, and will be held for those charges as well, police said.

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