Police: Miami-Dade serial bank robber arrested

Man suspsected in robbery of at least eight banks


HIALEAH, Fla. --

Police said they put a stop on Tuesday night to a serial bank robber responsible for robbing at least eight banks in Miami-Dade County. A warning for local authorities to be on the lookout for the suspect's Mercedes Benz went out, and a deputy driving around heard the alert, police said. That deputy spotted the car and helped make the arrest.

Police said a Bank Atlantic in Hialeah was one of eight banks robbed by William Valdivia since Thanksgiving.

Police said Valdivia robbed banks while on crutches.

Surveillance showed Valdivia with the crutches, talking to a teller.

"He would tell them that he was terminally ill or was ill with cancer and he basically had nothing to lose, and he would make it the worst day of their life if they didn't comply with his requests," said Hialeah Police Chief Mark Overton.

A Colonial Bank on West 49th Street in Hialeah was robbed on Monday morning, a month after the Bank Atlantic up the street was robbed.

Investigators said Valdivia is behind both of the crimes. They also said he robbed six other banks in Miami-Dade County.

According to detectives, Valdivia's crime spree started around Thanksgiving and ended on Monday. Police said Valdivia, a homeless man, was averaging about three bank robberies a month.

"I guess people get desperate," Overton said. "Desperate times causes people to do these types of things, but there was really no excuse. Eventually you get caught."

Police said Valdivia confessed to three bank robberies in Coral Gables, two in Hialeah, two in Miami-Dade County and one in the city of Miami.

One officer familiar with Valdivia's criminal history said Valdivia has spent more than 15 years in prison.

He faces nine criminal charges in connection to the bank robberies. He's being held on no bond.