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"Bouquet Bandit" Suspect Takes Arrest Like a "Gentleman," Says Lawyer

"Bouquet Bandit" (AP Photo)

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Edward Pemberton is accused of taking along a bouquet of flowers on a New York City bank robbery - and his lawyer says he's cut a gallant figure since his arrest, too.

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Pemberton, who police say is the so-called "Bouquet Bandit," is being held on $250,000 bail after his arraignment Thursday on robbery charges. He did not enter a plea.

Authorities say the 44-year-old used a flower bouquet to conceal a note demanding cash during a $440 Manhattan bank heist July 15. They say he used a potted plant as a similar prop in a holdup at another bank earlier this month.

The publicity generated by a security photo - including front-page headlines in the city's tabloids - led to tips naming Pemberton, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said while announcing the arrest.

Prosecutors say he implicated himself in those and four more bank robberies in the past two years.

But defense lawyer Justine Luongo says authorities described Pemberton as "a gentleman throughout" his dealings with them.

NYPD released the security photo on Monday amid a manhunt for a robber who walked into a bank last week carrying a bouquet neatly bundled in pink tissue paper and plastic.

Hidden inside the arrangement was a note that read, "Give me all your $100s, $50s. Don't be a hero."

A teller gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of cash. He fled on foot, leaving the flowers behind.

Police say the same man appeared at another Manhattan bank on July 10 holding a similar threatening note under a leafy plant. He reached over the counter and grabbed the cash before fleeing. The potted plant stayed.

Pemberton had a history of arrests on drug charges and other petty offenses, police said.

Kelly said the suspect had a legitimate - and revealing - line of work.

"He did odd jobs in the flower district," he said. "Very odd jobs."

  • Edecio Martinez

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