The Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s feverish search of the Iberia Bank robbery suspect was short-lived.
CCSO got the call at around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday about an alleged robbery at Iberia Bank at 1905 Pine Ridge Road. The suspect, who was caught on surveillance footage, was apprehended less than two hours later, a short walk down Shirley Street.
According to an arrest report, the suspect was found in a pile of dirty laundry, just down the street from the bank.
34-year-old Christopher Belyea was arrested early Wednesday following the search. According to the arrest report, Belyea already had a warrant out for his arrest following a failure to appear in court for an earlier offense.
When CCSO received the robbery call Wednesday morning, they received the description of the suspect; a thin, white male wearing sunglasses. A surveillance image was circulated on social media.
The bank teller who was robbed said in their statement to police that the male walked into the bank through the front door and walked directly to their teller window. The teller said the man told them he wanted to cash a check, reached into his pocket, and produced a note that said to give him a thousand dollars in twenty-dollar bills.
According to the report, the bank teller was told by the assistant manager to provide the cash; he left through the front door.
While detectives were on scene interviewing witnesses and processing the area, a witness claimed they saw a suspect running down Shirley Street fitting Belyea’s description. He was reported to be at a garage on Shirley Street, which is being rented out by his stepfather. The location was walking distance from the bank.
Belyea’s stepfather said in a statement that while he was sitting on his couch, he saw a large pile of dirty laundry in the garage begin to move. He said Belyea emerged from the pile as deputies entered the garage requesting a search of the building.
The bank tellers said they believed Belyea to be the suspect who came in to the bank, albeit with less of a beard. Deputies later found an electric razor among the pile of laundry Belyea was hiding in, according to reports, as well as a number of small cut hairs strewn about Belyea’s shirt.
According to the arrest report, Belyea had violated a condition of probation by failing to appear for a urinalysis in October 2016. He was sentenced to twelve months of probation in May 2016 for a DUI.
Belyea is being held at the Collier County Jail without bond. His arraignment will take place in early April.
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