A 25-year-old Florida man robbed a Fort Lauderdale bank, stripped naked while fleeing on foot and threw cash into the air in an effort to launch his comedy career, the FBI says.
Alexander Hayden Sperber has been charged with bank robbery and faces several years in prison, according to court documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
Sperber is accused of holding up the Regions Bank on 100 SE 3rd Street in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, July 25. Sperber was arrested near the scene by Fort Lauderdale Police.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sperber Told the Teller He Had a Gun, Pointed His Finger at Her & Stole About $4,700 Before His Dramatic Flight From the Scene
Alexander Sperber is accused of robbing the Regions Bank, 100 SE 3rd Street, in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday afternoon. He caught the attention of several bystanders as he ran down the street, throwing $100 and $50 bills into the air and stripping naked before he was taken into custody, WSVN-TV reports.
Sperber drove his 2007 red Ford Mustang to the Regions Bank about 3 p.m. Tuesday, parking in the bank’s parking lot before walking inside, FBI Special Agent Louis Bronstein wrote in his affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Sperber.
“Sperber approached the teller counter, stated he had a gun and verbally demanded that a teller put money into a bag he provided,” Bronstein wrote. “Using his left index finger extended as if to depict a gun, Sperber stated he would do harm to the teller and others if his demands were not met.”
The teller, “in fear for her life and her safety, complied and placed approximately $4,700, a dye back and a bait bill into the bag and returned the bag to Sperber,” Bronstein wrote.
You can read the full criminal complaint below:
According to Bronstein, the bank had surveillance cameras and the images captured by the cameras “clearly depict Sperber committing the robbery. A cast on Sperber’s left wrist was clearly visible.”
After taking the bag of cash, Sperber fled on foot, Bronstein wrote.
“The dye pack subsequently activated, putting red dye on Sperber’s hand, cast and clothing,” he wrote. “Sperber removed his clothes and ran naked in the vicinity of Las Olas Boulevard, throwing money as he ran.”
“It kind of took me a second. I was on the phone. I had to put it down,” Drew Armstrong, a witness, told WSVN-TV. “And then this lady passed me, and I asked her, ‘Was he naked?’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah, he was naked.’ I’m surprised no one tackled him or anything.”
The incident occurred in broad daylight in busy downtown Fort Lauderdale.
“When I initially saw him I thought he was maybe mental patient but then when I heard about the bank robbery I thought it was more shocking and could’ve been dangerous,” said Dennis Toledo, another witness, told WTVJ-TV.
Sperber was taken into custody at 800 NE 4th Street by Fort Lauderdale Police. According to Bronstein, the officers brought the teller to where Sperber was arrested, and the teller identified him as the robber. He was covered with a yellow tarp at the scene.
A “bait bill” matching the one put into the bag by the teller was later recovered, the FBI said.
2. He Told the FBI Agent He Woke Up Tuesday Morning & Decided to Rob the Bank to Launch His Career as a Comedian
Sperber was taken to the bank by Fort Lauderdale Police after the officers “became concerned for Sperber’s health,” according to court documents. He was taken by ambulance to Broward Health Medical Center.
FBI Special Agent Bronstein said he interviewed Sperber at the hospital and he was “conscious, coherent and uninjured.”
According to Bronstein, Sperber was advised of his Miranda rights and waived them, agreeing to be interviewed, on tape, without a lawyer.
Sperber told the agent he woke up on Tuesday “and decided to rob a bank, flee by running naked down the street while throwing the money stolen during the bank robbery to people in order to begin his career as a comedian.”
According to Bronstein, Sperber “described the verbal threat he made to the victim teller and demonstrated pointing his left index finer as if to convey the image of a gun. Red dye was visible on the cast on Sperber’s left wrist and the left pocket of his pants.”
3. Sperber Is a Fort Lauderdale Native Who Graduated From Lehigh University & Is Getting His Master’s Degree at Florida Atlantic
Alexander Sperber is a Fort Lauderdale native who attended Pine Crest School, graduating in May 2010, according to his Facebook profile.
Sperber graduated from Lehigh University in 2010 with a degree in business information systems, according to his Linkedin profile. He is currently a graduate student at Florida Atlantic University pursuing a master’s degree in management information systems.
Florida Atlantic also did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his current status as a student there.
He has worked at Timeless Therapy, a Fort Lauderdale company, as a computer clerk, tutor and lifeguard, according to his resume on Indeed.
4. He Calls Himself an ‘Inventor,’ Has Worked as a Marketing Intern & His Only Criminal History Is for Traffic Offenses & Making a False 911 Call
Sperber is an “inventor,” according to his Linkedin profile, and has a company called Balcovers Inc.
“I have a patent pending for an invention that relates to real estate, automation, and sensors,” he wrote on Linkedin. “It is a luxury amenity that has potential to be licensed and sold once the patent is acquired.”
He has also worked as a marketing intern at e-Builder in Plantation, Florida, since May 2017, according to his Linkedin profile. Sperber has also been an administrative assistant and website developer for a homecare company and a telemarketer, according to his resume.
Sperber’s previous criminal history includes a 2014 arrest on a charge of use of 911 for a false alarm or to provide false info. He was arrested in Florida on May 6, 2014, but prosecutors did not pursue the charge. Details of that case were not immediately available.
He has also been cited for traffic offenses, including failure to obey a traffic sign and following too closely.
5. He Is Being Held at the Broward County Jail & Faces at Least 10 Years in Federal Prison if Convicted
Alexander Sperber is being held at the Broward County Jail without bail on a U.S. Marshal’s hold, awaiting transfer to federal custody, according to online records. He was booked into the Main Jail on July 25.
Sperber has been charged by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida with bank robbery, a federal offense that carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted.
It is not clear if he has hired an attorney and he could not be reached for comment. His first court date has not yet been set.