Florida Keys

Cops called on Wells Fargo customer mistaken for bank robber

A Monroe County Sheriff's deputy armed with a rifle approaches the Wells Fargo Bank branch in Key Largo, but the Friday incident turned out to be a false alarm.
A Monroe County Sheriff's deputy armed with a rifle approaches the Wells Fargo Bank branch in Key Largo, but the Friday incident turned out to be a false alarm. THE REPORTER/KEYNOTER

Deputies raced to a Key Largo bank with weapons drawn Friday but a report of a possible robbery proved to be unfounded.

"No one was arrested and it didn't turn out to be anything," Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy Becky Herrin, an information officer, said Friday.

"When we get a report of a possible bank robbery we have to respond like it is, with a certain protocol," she said.

A man inside the Wells Fargo Bank building at mile marker 100, possibly an employee, called 911 at 11 a.m. to report "something was happening and he thought it might be a robbery," Herrin said. "He couldn't see everything but said it was possible the person might have a gun."

The California man who was taken down at gunpoint and handcuffed by police is upset -- not at the Sheriff's Office but at Wells Fargo, which he blames for the situation.

Michail Koutsouradis, 34, visiting from Santa Rosa, said Friday afternoon that for the past three days, he was having problems with Wells Fargo staff over a money transfer. He grew so frustrated that he went to the branch after checking out of the Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort at mile marker 103.8. His wife, eight months pregnant, waited in the car.

"I went in as a happy customer, I wasn't pissed off," Koutsouradis said. "This person thought I had a gun; I had a cell phone. I told the manager I'm going out to have a cigarette."

That's when deputies arrived, guns drawn, and told him to get on the ground and handcuffed him.

"They put me on the ground in handcuffs. Of course I didn't resist anything. I have to say they did their job," Koutsouradis said. "The thing I am really pissed off at is this mistake could have cost me my life. Having an M-16 pointed at you is scary."

"This would not have happened if there were no bank mistakes, first the one transfer, then another transfer. They then say I'm robbing a bank," he said.

After he was set free, he and his wife drove up to Miami Beach, where they were staying Friday night before heading home to California.

A call to the bank for comment got routed to a Virginia call center. As for the money transfer, Koutsouradis says he's still not sure if Wells Fargo eventually got it right.

Go to KeysNet.com to read more.

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