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FBI: Miami Gardens man faces federal charge for Deerfield Beach bank robbery

After serving 22 years for bank robbery, man admits to going back to old ways

Federal authorities are accusing James Andrew Phillips, of Miami Gardens, of being involved in a Deerfield Beach bank robbery on Monday.
Federal authorities are accusing James Andrew Phillips, of Miami Gardens, of being involved in a Deerfield Beach bank robbery on Monday. (FBI and Google Streetview)

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – FBI agents identified Monday’s Deerfield Beach bank robber as James Andrew Phillips, of Miami Gardens, on Wednesday morning. He is accused of taking about $7,000 from AmTrust Bank, after recently being released from a federal prison where he served 22 years for bank robbery.

According to FBI Special Agent Baxter Cohen, Phillips was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with the hood over his head, a white baseball hat, and black and yellow gloves when he walked into the AmTrust Bank branch at 3600 W. Hillsboro Blvd.

“Phillips admitted he robbed the bank. When shown a picture taken from the security footage and asked about his attire, he stated, ‘You can see what I’m wearing,’” Cohen wrote, adding that Phillips also said, “he was unable to find a job and needed money.”

Phillips was holding a red bandana and a black duffle bag when he walked up to a bank teller and ordered her to fill up the bag, and shouted, “I don’t need no trackers ... Hurry up ... Move,” according to Cohen.

The bank teller Phillips was threatening did not add dye-packs or trackers, but another bank employee pressed the silent alarm to alert law enforcement, Cohen wrote in the criminal complaint.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies chased a dark blue Chevrolet Equinox sports utility vehicle to the parking lot of the DS Sports Plex at 3650 SW 10th St., where deputies said Phillips rushed out of the car and started running -- before jumping into a canal.

“Phillips advised he borrowed the SUV from his father,” Cohen wrote.

Phillips had abandoned the duffle bag with the cash in the car, the red bandana, a mask, the gloves and sunglasses, according to Cohen.

Deputies arrested Phillips on the other side of the canal about 1:40 p.m. on Monday at 301 Freedom Ct. He remained in federal custody on Wednesday, according to Jim Marshall, a spokesman for FBI Miami.

A deputy crashed during the chase along Powerline Road, near Southwest 15th Street and didn’t suffer any injuries, according to BSO.

Phillips appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow on Tuesday. The federal judge in Fort Lauderdale set Phillips bond at $250,000. His arraignment is at 11:15 a.m. on March 10.

Phillips faces a federal charge of knowingly taking by intimidation from the person and presence of an employee of Amtrust Bank, United States currency belonging to, and in the care, custody, control, management and possession of Amtrust Bank, a bank whose deposits were the insured by the federal deposit insurance corporation.

BSO and the FBI are still investigating the bank robbery, according to Marshall. FBI agents are asking anyone with information about the bank robbery to call 754-703-2000.

Broward Sheriff's Office deputies assist FBI agents on Monday in Deerfield Beach.
Broward Sheriff's Office deputies assist FBI agents on Monday in Deerfield Beach. (LOCAL 10 NEWS)

Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editor/Futures Planner Kerry Weston contributed to this report.


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