Sheriff’s Office questioning witnesses, following leads in Sebastian bank robbery

SEBASTIAN — Investigators with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office plans to canvass the Roseland area again today in hopes of cultivating new leads in Friday’s Riverside Bank robbery.

“People’s memories take a while to come back,” Sgt. Tom Raulen, said, noting it could take  a day or two for people to remember details from such events. Sgt. Raulen said members of the Sheriff’s Office have met with other law enforcement agencies to strategize about the case.

They have also met members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office to try to determine if the Sebastian case is related to a string of Riverside Bank robberies in Brevard.

“The subject appears to be different,” Sgt. Raulen said of the images from the Sebastian robbery and images from the Brevard cases.

The Sheriff’s Office will be reviewing security film footage using enhancement tools to get a more definitive answer.

“The quality isn’t always the best,” he said of the still frame images taken from the film shortly after robberies occur.

Sgt. Raulen said it’s the facial characteristics that lead authorities to think the cases might not be linked.

While the Sebastian case might not be connected to the Brevard bank robberies, authorities think the First Peoples Bank robbery in Vero Beach last Tuesday, might be related, the sergeant said.

In both the Vero Beach and Sebastian robberies, a male subject wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and a ball cap enter the banks, present a note to the teller demanding money and then flee on foot.

The Vero Beach Police Department remains the lead agency investigating the First People Bank robbery, while the Sheriff’s Office retains jurisdiction of the Sebastian Riverside Bank case.

Sgt. Raulen said the FBI contacted the Sheriff’s Office with regards to the Sebastian case, but only to offer whatever assistance the Sheriff’s Office might need.

The sergeant said it is common for the FBI to be in contact when a bank robbery occurs, though typically it is the Sheriff’s Office that reaches out to the agency, not the other way around.

“We’ve always had a good working relationship” with the FBI, Sgt. Raulen said.

On March 22, a Riverside Bank in Palm Bay was robbed and just a half-hour later a similar looking male suspect hit another bank in Melbourne. The man in question is also thought to be a suspect in the robbery of another Riverside Bank in Rockledge and a bank in Volusia County. In each of these cases, the robber compares to the description of today’s suspect in the Riverside Bank robbery — a white male about 6-feet tall with a thin build and wearing a baseball cap. No one was injured in either the Vero Beach or Sebastian robberies.

In the Riverside Bank robbery Friday he was described as wearing a gray shirt, gray ball cap and pants with paint on them.

Read prior coverage: Sebastian Riverside Bank robbed, suspect still loose

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