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NYPD arrest 'Bouquet Bandit'

This July 15, 2010 security photo provided by

This July 15, 2010 security photo provided by the NYPD on Monday, July 19, 2010 shows a man police say robbed a bank armed with a bouquet of fresh flowers, in New York. Photo Credit: AP

The "Bouquet Bandit" who allegedly held up the Manhattan branch of the Bank of Smithtown won't be smelling the roses anytime soon.

Police said that after Edward Pemberton, 44, of Brooklyn, was nabbed Wednesday on suspicion he ripped off the Chelsea branch of the bank on July 15, he admitted taking part in five other bank heists stretching back to 2008.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Wednesday Pemberton implicated himself in the additional robberies. "It became obvious to the suspect we had the goods," Browne said.

A part-time worker in the Flower District, Pemberton was caught on bank surveillance holding a bouquet as he approached the teller at the Bank of Smithtown branch. At the counter, police said, Pemberton took out a note warning the teller, "Don't be a hero."

Having left the flowers behind, Pemberton allegedly walked away with more than $400 containing an exploding dye package that detonated as he was leaving, police said. Pemberton discarded the dye pack, taking the money, they said.

Pemberton, who had previous arrests for drug possession, also implicated himself in the robbery a week ago of a Capital One in Chelsea in which he carried a potted plant, Browne said.

The four other robberies that Pemberton admitted to all took place in Manhattan, Browne said.

While all those heists involved the passing of notes, only one, the May 28, 2009, robbery of a Wachovia branch at 666 Third Ave., involved flowers.

Pemberton failed to get any money in the Wachovia incident, Browne said.

Browne noted that fingerprints lifted from the rose bouquet matched those found on flowers left at the Bank of Smithtown.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said bank surveillance photographs of Pemberton were so clear that many people called a special hotline to identify him.

Pemberton was found hiding in the closet of the home of a relative near his apartment at 977 Jefferson Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. No money or weapons were recovered at the time of the arrest, police said.

A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office said Wednesday charges against Pemberton were pending.

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