Port St. Lucie man in custody after bank robbery, high-speed chase, crash


TREASURE COAST — A Port St. Lucie man who stole more than $5,000 from a Fellsmere bank, then drove southbound at speeds of up to 120 mph before crashing his vehicle in St. Lucie County, was in custody Thursday afternoon, sheriff’s officials said. The incident led nearby Fellsmere Elementary School to be placed on a brief lockdown.

“(The suspect) demanded money be placed in a pillowcase he brought with him,” Fellsmere police said. The incident caused a multi-agency response across two counties to capture the suspect.

Police identified the man as 44-year-old David Abram Ziesel. Police learned that Ziesel was on federal probation for robbing a bank in 2019 in Oakwood, Ohio; further details on that case were not immediately available.

The bank in Fellsmere – iThink Financial Bank – was expected to remain closed for the rest of Thursday, police said.

Indian River County sheriff’s officials said all of the stolen money was recovered.

Fellsmere police will charge Ziesel with robbery once he has been cleared from HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital in Fort Pierce, officials said. The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office will charge Ziesel with aggravated fleeing and eluding.

Ziesel was expected to face additional charges from other agencies involved in the pursuit, including the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol.

No weapon was displayed during the robbery and no one at the bank was hurt, sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Kevin Jaworski said.

“The man demanded that the teller give him all of the money,” Jaworski said.

Fellsmere police and sheriff’s deputies responded to a robbery alarm about 10:20 a.m. at iThink Financial Bank, located on North Broadway Street. The bank is two blocks east of Fellsmere Elementary School.

Deputies said Ziesel grabbed the money and then drove off in a gray Mazda Miata.

Ziesel traveled south on Interstate 95 to reach St. Lucie County, Jaworski said. Then, he took the Orange Avenue exit and headed eastbound into Fort Pierce.

Ziesel crashed into a silver car traveling near Georgia Avenue and 13th Street. Officials said Ziesel was taken to HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital in Fort Pierce with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

The other driver was not seriously injured, sheriff’s officials said.

“We especially want to thank our dispatch personnel who helped coordinate four different agencies over two counties while still managing the rest of calls coming in to the communications center,” sheriff’s officials said. “More information and video will be released at a later time.”




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