LAKELAND — A suspect in eight bank robberies over the past two months, including an Oct. 12 heist in Lakeland, was arrested in the city shortly after noon Thursday without incident.
The FBI, assisted by local law enforcement agencies, arrested Myron William Ernst on a federal warrant, bureau spokeswoman Andrea Aprea told The Ledger. Other agencies involved included the Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol.
Ernst was arrested driving the Ford F-150 truck he is alleged to have stolen from a South Carolina dealership before beginning his bank robbery spree, according to a Thursday FBI press statement.
Spokesman Gary Gross said Lakeland police officers were called to assist at 12:34 p.m. and that Ernst was arrested 10 minutes later. He did not have location information.
An FBI wanted poster gives multiple aliases and five different birth dates for Ernst. The FBI statement gave his age as 60.
Serial bank robbery suspect William Ernst arrested in Lakeland
According to earlier stories in local media, including The Ledger, the FBI suspects Ernst was involved in eight bank heists in Florida and Alabama since an Oct. 5 robbery in Orlando. That followed his August release on probation after serving most of an 11-year sentence in a federal prison on a 2010 conviction for six bank robberies.
FBI arrests man accused of robbing banks in Florida, Alabama
Among the bank robberies for which Ernst is a suspect is an Oct. 12 robbery of the TD Bank at 6108 U.S. 98 North in Lakeland.
In that incident, the robber entered the bank and handed the teller a note indicating he had a gun, according to law enforcement reports. He was given an undetermined amount of cash and drove away in a newer model dark gray Ford F-150 truck.
More recently, Ernst is suspected in the Wednesday hold up at the SunTrust Bank in Orange Park, according to a report by Jacksonville TV station WJXT. The FBI statement said he is also suspected of a Thursday morning bank robbery in Orlando.
The Ocala-Star Banner reported Ernst as a suspect in the attempted robbery Tuesday of a Wells Fargo branch in Ocala. There he gave a teller a note demanding cash and referenced a threat to the use of a gun if he did not get the money.
Ocala Police Department reported the suspect panicked and ran from the bank empty handed, according to the Star-Banner. He was seen leaving the Wells Fargo in a dark gray newer model Ford F-150.
The FBI says a serial bank robbery suspect is now off the streets, a day after he held up a bank in Clay County.
The FBI Tampa says Myron Ernst was in a vehicle he stole from a dealership in South Carolina, when he was arrested without incident in Lakeland. He has a federal arrest warrant for an October 12th bank robbery in Lakeland, but is believed to be linked to other incidents in central and north Florida and Alabama, including an Orlando bank robbery today.
Ernst is accused of targeting two Clay County banks in the last month and a half, including a Bank of America in early October, and a SunTrust Bank on Blanding Boulevard yesterday.
The FBI is crediting the assistance of the Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and Florida Highway Patrol in Ernst’s apprehension.
With many agencies involved, we are proud to know that our law enforcement associates in central Florida have captured Myron William Ernst and he is in their custody. Good job to everyone who successfully worked together, bringing this to a safe closure. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/kyApowaxku