"Bouquet Bandit" Bank Robber Admits He Carried Flowers to Avoid Suspicion, Say NYC Cops

"Bouquet Bandit" (AP Photo)
Bouquet Bandit Strikes Again, Uses Flowers to Hold Up Banks
"Bouquet Bandit" (AP Photo)

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) New York City's "Bouquet Bandit" has apparently confessed with words, in addition to saying it with flowers.

Edward Pemberton, this summer's alleged flower-toting thief, told police he used plants as props to deflect suspicion in a series of bank robberies, that were spurred by drinking and drug use, newly released documents show.

Pemberton said his technique was self-taught and his targets were self-explanatory: "It's where the money is. That's all," he said in a handwritten statement to police released Wednesday.

Pemberton, 44, was arrested after a security-camera photo of a bouquet-brandishing suspect at a Manhattan bank counter on July 15 generated front-page headlines in the city's tabloids. He has since been charged with a total of three bank robberies and an attempted bank robbery; he has pleaded not guilty to all.

The bouquet, neatly bundled in pink tissue paper and plastic, concealed a note that demanded $50 and $100 bills, authorities said.

Pemberton said in his July 21 statement that he'd picked up the flowers in a store on the way to the bank, a flourish he said he'd used in at least two other bank capers going back to 2009.

In one, he swiped a potted plant off someone's stoop and carried it during a July 8 heist, according to his statement. Though apparently unarmed, he presented a note that warned: "I will shoot!" and was given about $1,900, according to court documents and his statement.

"I picked up the plant because if they would have seen me dirty and a male black like that, they would have gotten" suspicious, Pemberton wrote. He said he was wearing the same clothes he had worked in the previous day, having spent the night out dating and drinking.

Police have said Pemberton did odd jobs in Manhattan's flower district.

Pemberton's statement recounts a total of six heists and attempted robberies dating to April 2008. He has been charged in four; charges related to two incidents, in 2008 and 2009, were

added Wednesday. Prosecutors said they couldn't find needed witnesses to the remaining two robberies the statement mentioned, both in April 2008.

His lawyer, Justine Luongo, noted that Pemberton isn't charged with hurting anyone.

"My client is accused of handing a teller some flowers and politely asking for money," she said Wednesday.

Pemberton is being held on $250,000 bail.\

Complete Coverage of the "Bouquet Bandit" on Crimesider