MANATEE — A knife-wielding man robbed a Bank of America branch Monday morning but was arrested about 10 minutes after the holdup, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Brenan Cole Fountain, 31, reportedly walked into the bank at 3401 Cortez Road at 11:06 a.m. waving a machete-like knife above his head.
He slammed his hand on a counter and demanded money, according to the sheriff’s report.
After receiving some cash, Fountain left the bank, waving his hands in the air as if to celebrate what he had just done, a sheriff’s supervisor said.
Unknown to Fountain, a witness who works for the bank’s alarm and security services followed him from the bank and called 911. Minutes
after the robbery, Fountain was under arrest,
No one was injured in the robbery.
For Bradenton’s Lenbert Bailey, 40, a customer in the bank during the robbery, the unsettling experience was like being in a movie.
Bailey was sitting with a sales service specialist and had just wired money to China for his business when he looked up and saw a man threatening tellers and waving a large knife just 10 feet away.
“He was yelling, ‘Put it out, put it out,’” Bailey said. “The tellers started putting cash on the counter.”
The robber had no bag to put the money in and did not bother with a mask, Bailey said.
“He was just wearing a baseball cap and a white T-shirt and kept saying, ‘Go ahead, call the police, call them,’” Bailey said.
As the robber held the money in his hands, Bailey, an athletic man with boxing and self-defense training, got up out of his seat when he saw the knife.
“I was getting ready to defend myself,” Bailey said.
A bank employee asked him to sit back down, Bailey said.
“Absolutely, I thought about going for him, taking him down, but when she told me to sit down, I did,” Bailey said.
Bailey said he felt outrage and anger over the incident.
“They were really frightened,” Bailey said of the all-female teller staff. “They were sobbing. I felt really badly for the ladies.”
The robber’s arrogant demeanor, Bailey said, included challenging employees to call the police, flaunting the knife and not wearing a disguise.
“He walked out of the bank slowly and didn’t really seem to care,” Bailey said.
Deputies arrested Fountain in the 4600 block of 43rd Street West, about 11 blocks from the bank.
This same Bank of America branch was robbed in July 2011 and the robber in that crime was also arrested quickly.
Investigators quickly picked up the trail of Roger Upshaw with the aid of a tracking device slipped in with the money, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Upshaw, who had received about $4,000, was reportedly arrested about four blocks away.