‘I-4 bandit’: Serial bank robber due in court after arrest in Clearwater

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — A suspected serial bank robber is back in jail after holding up a Wells Fargo in Clearwater.

Dave Ratcliff was convicted of robbing six banks in the late 90s, and is believed to have robbed a total of 19 banks in Clearwater, Tampa and Orlando.

“Here he is, in November 2021, possibly robbing two more banks,” Clearwater Police Department spokesperson Rob Shaw said.

Ratcliff was accused of holding up the Wells Fargo on Fort Harrison Avenue Tuesday morning.

Police said he walked into the bank, climbed over the counter, took some money and fled in a red Dodge Magnum.

“He runs from the scene, he’s dropping money everywhere,” Shaw said.

A detective spotted Ratcliff getting gas nearby. When they tried to stop him, he sped off.

A law enforcement helicopter eventually tracked him down in Belleair Beach as he was trying to steal a truck. Shaw said the truck owner fought Ratcliff until a K9 got to him.

Investigators said Ratcliff later admitted to being the “I-4 Bandit” who robbed banks in the 90s.

“One would be hopeful maybe this time he goes to prison for a long time and never gets out to do these crimes again,” Shaw said.

Ratcliff faces multiple charges, including armed robbery, fleeing and eluding, offense against a police canine and carjacking without a weapon. He is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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