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Palm Harbor man arrested in several bank robberies

A man suspected of robbing at least five banks in Pasco, Hernando and Hillsborough counties since 2010 was arrested by federal authorities Friday.

Dave Dwinell, 51, of Palm Harbor told investigators that he robbed the banks because his house was in foreclosure and he needed the money to pay his bills after being fired from his job as a restaurant manager, a report said. Dwinell was being held in federal custody.

He was dubbed the "Bank Bag Bandit" because he brought his own blue bank bag with him for tellers to put the money into, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Investigators say he used bandannas and stockings to cover his face, he was always armed with a silver revolver, and he threatened the bank tellers but didn't injure anyone.

Dwinell is accused of robbing a BB&T bank in New Port Richey on Nov. 2, 2010; a First Citrus Bank in Tampa on Dec. 8, 2010; a Superior Bank in Spring Hill on Jan. 28, 2011; a Mercantile Bank in Tampa on April 18, 2011; and the same BB&T bank in New Port Richey again on Tuesday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Dwinell got nearly $40,000 in the five robberies. A Pasco detective said Dwinell had no money in his BB&T checking account when he was arrested Friday, the report said.

But investigators found $310 shoved under the steering wheel of his pickup truck and $7,362 inside his home, along with the silver revolver, authorities said.

Dwinell was tracked by a Pasco detective who used witness information from the most recent New Port Richey robbery.

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6229.

Palm Harbor man arrested in several bank robberies 12/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 30, 2011 5:45pm]
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