Attorney-turned-serial bank robber quit job, was homeless, confesses to crimes

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Coral Gables attorney turned bank robber carried a ball-peen hammer in his waistband and a composition style, green notebook with several different demand notes during a spree of hitting 5 banks in about 3 weeks, according to a criminal complaint released in federal court in the United States of America vs. Aaron Patrick Honaker.

Honaker confessed to five bank robberies committed mostly in Coral Gables, except for one in Aventura, between the dates of Sept. 30 and Oct. 18.

During Honaker’s bond hearing on Friday, a federal judge deemed him a flight risk and, because of that, he remains in jail.

Prosecutors said the 41-year-old lawyer quit his job and told authorities he was broke and desperate.

Authorities said that Honaker was homeless and prior to that, he had traveled the world visiting several countries including Colombia where he met his fiancé. He had planned on returning to Colombia, he told them.

During the robberies, prosecutors said Honaker would enter a bank and give a note to a teller demanding cash. He was only able to get money in two incidents, which totaled about $1,800, according to investigators.

He later told investigators that he carried the ball-peen hammer with him during the robberies to escape any glass “mantraps” triggered by bank security. They also found a green notebook, which had instructions inside on how to commit a bank robbery and four, folded notes with demands to tellers.

The Coral Gables banks were all in close proximity to one another, except for one that was in Aventura. (WPLG)

Here are the banks, dates and details from criminal complaint.

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020: Citibank, Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables. At 3 p.m., a subject now identified as Honaker, entered the bank and sat in the lobby where he waited approximately 15 minutes before approaching a teller. He handed her a note that read: “Don’t touch the alarm or call police.” The note also asked for money. No money was taken after the teller told Honaker that they “did not have money, it is in the machine.” He left the bank, taking his note with him, according to the complaint.

Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020: Chase Bank, 20880 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura. Honaker entered the bank at 1:55 p.m. and approached a teller saying that he wanted to make a withdrawal but that he did not have his debit card with him. He handed the teller a note that he said would provide instructions on how to withdraw the money. The note said: “Empty all of your 50s and 100s and put it in an envelope.” He was able to get $1,050 in that heist.

Monday, Oct. 5, 2020: Wells Fargo Bank, 2555 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables. At approximately 3:53 p.m., Coral Gables Police received a 911 call for a bank robbery in progress at the Wells Fargo Bank. 10 minutes prior to the call, Honaker had stood in the customer line and then approached the teller. He used the same debit card m.o. telling the bank employee that he would give her a note of how he wanted his cash. "He handed her a note that said “Keep calm, and give me all the money in the drawer, I have a gun.” The teller said she could not read English and would have to get her manager. At that point, he left the bank on foot, according to the affidavit.

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020: Chase Bank, 355 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables. At 1:54 p.m., Honaker approached a teller and presented a demand note. He said to provide only “50s and 100s.” He was able to obtain $800.

Monday, Oct. 15, 2020: HSBC Bank, 2222 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. Around 4:49 p.m., the subject entered bank, went to a teller station, then opened a composition-style notebook. He pulled a paper note and handed it to the teller. Without realizing what the note was, the teller asked the man to fill out a withdrawal slip first because she needed an account number. The subject, alleged to be Honaker, walked over to a service counter and wrote on the withdrawal slip, then went back to the teller. On the withdrawal slip, he wrote “read the note.” The teller told the man that the bank kept its cash in counting machines and she could not provide any money. The subject left.

Honaker was arrested on Tuesday, Oct. 20 in the Coral Gables area.

According to Wake Forest University Law School’s registrar office, Honaker received his Juris Doctor degree there on Dec. 10, 2005. State records show he was admitted to the Florida Bar on Jan. 31, 2008, and is a member in good standing.

FBI agents are accusing Aaron Patrick Honaker, a Coral Gables attorney, of robbing several banks in Miami-Dade County. (FBI and Florida Bar)

At the beginning of his career, Honaker was recruited by a top international law firm in Brickell and he worked there for about three years. Colleagues at boutique firms in Coral Gables described him as a “highly intelligent” and “brilliant” attorney who is “disciplined” and “sharp.”

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local She has a bachelor's degree from Emerson College, Boston, and a master's degree from SUNY-Empire State.