Authorities have released the identity of a man who reportedly robbed a Clermont bank and led law enforcement on a high-speed chase that ended when his car crashed.
Brian Carl Richards, 41, was charged with armed robbery, grand theft, aggravated fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest and reckless driving, according to an arrest affidavit released Friday morning.
Richards, who has prior burglary, theft and other charges, remained in the Lake County jail early Friday in lieu of $18,000 bail.
According to the affidavit, Richards walked into the Trustco Bank on High Grove Boulevard in Clermont about 1:15 p.m. on Thursday in a tan short sleeve dress shirt, khaki pants and camouflage hat and handed a teller a black bag and typed note demanding money.
The affidavit indicates that Richards told the teller “I’m not kidding” and the teller believed he was armed.
After being given an undetermined amount of cash, Richards allegedly fled in a red, four-door Toyota, which had its license plate covered with blue tape. However, a teller was able to take a photo of the car, which helped law enforcement find the vehicle.
Sgt. James Vachon, sheriff’s spokesman, said deputies found the suspect’s vehicle in the area of a nearby shopping center. Richards allegedly led law enforcement, including the Florida Highway Patrol, on a pursuit that reached speeds up to 100 mph. He reportedly crossed over a median at one point and drove the wrong way into oncoming traffic on Highway 27.
Deputies were eventually able to stop him by laying spike sticks across the road in front of the vehicle. The sticks are designed to shred the tires of fleeing vehicles.
The suspect lost control of the vehicle and struck a 2007 Jeep in the area of Hancock and Hartwood Marsh roads and K-9s helped apprehend him. The suspect as well as the dog and the K-9 deputy were treated on the scene for minor injuries.
The driver of the Jeep was not hurt.
Tellers were able to identify him as the robber. Richards allegedly told detectives that a friend in the car told him to rob the bank, but the affidavit points out that deputies never saw anyone else in the car.
According to the jail website, Richards was arrested in January on charges of burglary and grand theft. He also was arrested in December on charges of grand theft, possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief and for violating his probation for assaulting a law enforcement officer in 2002 in Seminole County.