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Clearwater man admits robbing bank and invading home, police say

CLEARWATER — A 40-year-old man accused of robbing a bank last week admitted after he was arrested Thursday that he was responsible for a home invasion last month, authorities said.

Clearwater police said Robert Joseph Marquez of 531 S Keene Road, Clearwater, entered the Bank of America at 1640 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. about 11 a.m. on July 2. According to an arrest report, he passed a teller a note that read: "Put all the money in the bag. I have a gun. I will shoot."

The teller filled a bag with about $1,400 and a dye pack to stain the money, and Marquez ran away, police said.

Surveillance cameras at a Largo coin laundry captured images of Marquez exchanging the stained money for coins in a machine shortly after the robbery, police said.

Police identified Marquez as their bank robbery suspect after getting a match on a fingerprint at the bank, they said. Surveillance footage from the coin laundry showed Marquez with his girlfriend. Police found the girlfriend, who told investigators about his involvement in the bank robbery, police said.

Clearwater police found Marquez at an apartment in Palm Harbor and arrested him Thursday. He admitted robbing the bank and admitted forcing his way into a Clearwater home on June 22, police said.

In that case, Marquez entered the home of a 39-year-old man in the 1100 block of Amble Lane about 8 p.m. He carried a fake gun and demanded cash and prescription drugs, according to Clearwater police. The man fought with Marquez, and in the process, they "destroyed the front living room" of the man's home, according to a police report.

The man "was able to get the upper hand in the fight, and the suspect fled with no property or money," the report said.

The victim in that case identified Marquez as the home invader after police showed him photos of several possible suspects.

Marquez was out of jail on bail at the time of Thursday's arrest. In May, Clearwater police arrested him on grand theft and burglary charges.

In that incident, police said, Marquez was working at a Clearwater Beach pizza restaurant on April 27 when he went into his boss' truck and stole a bank bag containing more than $12,000 in cash.

The boss told police he witnessed the theft, and he said Marquez never came back to work and wouldn't answer phone calls.

A pretrial hearing in that case is scheduled for July 18.

On Friday morning, Marquez was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $60,000 bail.

Clearwater man admits robbing bank and invading home, police say 07/08/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 8, 2011 7:55pm]
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