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Bank robbery suspect arrested after customer gives chase

Steve Knobl just wanted to cash his paycheck, grab lunch and get back to his job as a maintenance supervisor at the Ashley Place Apartments on Friday.

Instead, he ended up chasing a suspect in a Barnett Bank robbery at 90 mph on Little Road, State Road 54 and Seven Springs Boulevard until he lost sight of him.

"I don't know what I would've done if I'd caught him," said Knobl, 48, who went after the suspect in his Chevrolet pickup. "I just didn't want to lose sight of him. He ran a couple red lights and so did I."

About an hour later, Pasco County sheriff's deputies saw a white 1989 Mazda, believed to be the getaway car, at a convenience store on U.S. 41 and Causeway Boulevard in Land O'Lakes.

They arrested Kenneth J. Doscher of Spring Hill and found a plastic toy gun they think was used in the robbery at the Barnett branch at Little Road and State Road 54. Doscher was being held without bail at the Pasco County Jail on a charge of armed robbery.

A woman who was in the car with Doscher was interviewed by detectives and released, said Jon Powers, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Doscher, 40, is accused of entering the bank about noon wearing a stocking over his face, cutoff denim shorts and no shoes, according to Sheriff's Office reports.

Hopping over the counter, the suspect pulled out a small handgun and said, "I want your money," according to witnesses.

The man ran from the bank with a paper bag filled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Knobl, who works across the street from the bank, was at a drive-up teller when he said a man ran outside and said, "Some guy's robbing the bank."

Knobl said he saw the robber run from the bank and jump into a waiting car on Little Road. He didn't see a gun, but he said he did see money dropping out of the bag the man was carrying.

"I knew it had to be the guy," he said. "So I took off."

Knobl followed the car for several miles down Little Road. He said the car narrowly missed several cars as it sped down the center lane and briefly swerved into oncoming traffic.

"I'm just glad nobody got hurt," Knobl said. "It could have been much worse. There was a lot of traffic on that road."

When he lost sight of the car, Knobl said he flagged down a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy.

Meanwhile, Pasco deputies had sealed off the bank parking lot with yellow tape and were interviewing witnesses, he said.

The car's license plate number was traced to a woman in Lutz, who apparently was not involved in the robbery, Powers said. Nearly all of the money was recovered, he said.

When Knobl returned to the bank, he was able to cash his check, even though other customers were being turned away.

"I had just sent it through to the teller when the guy ran out," he said. "The cashier had the money there waiting for me."

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