Lee County bank robber arrested

Yesterday afternoon, the man who detectives say robbed a Lee County bank in August 2019 was formally charged and is awaiting extradition to Fort Myers.

On August 9, 2019, an unknown male walked into the BB&T Bank, located at 12971 McGregor Boulevard, and passed a note to the teller, demanding all the cash in her drawer. 

He claimed to be armed but did not display a weapon. The clerk complied and handed over an undisclosed amount of cash, after which the suspect fled the area on foot.

Last month, detectives with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office developed Ismael Alvarez Martin (DOB 1/21/96) as a suspect in a bank robbery that occurred in their jurisdiction. They immediately noticed similarities to the suspect in the robbery of the BB&T Bank in Fort Myers on August 9th, and reached out to detectives in Lee County, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

FBI Special Agent Baumgartner immediately coordinated efforts with investigators from Lee, Collier, Polk, Brevard, and St. Lucie Counties to compare notes on similar bank robberies from their communities.  A few days later, a multi-agency meeting was held at the local FBI office, during which Martin was confirmed as being a suspect in nine bank robberies around the state which occurred between May 25, 2019, and November 30, 2019.

On Thursday, January 9th, information was received by Lee County detectives that Martin’s vehicle was spotted in Naples.  Collier County detectives quickly responded and were able to detain Martin and ultimately charge him with one count of robbery from their county.  That evening, Lee County detectives drove down to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and interviewed Martin, who provided a full confession to his involvement in the Lee County robbery. 

An arrest warrant has now been obtained and was served on Martin yesterday afternoon.  Once he is released from the Collier County Jail, he will be extradited back to Lee County to face charges here. In addition to the local arrests, Martin may also face additional charges from other jurisdictions.

Martin’s arrest is a testament to the value of information sharing and how a multi-agency coordinated effort can help with the apprehension of violent offenders.