FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The two men accused in a multi-county crime spree were in federal court Monday.
Michael Gonzalez, 31, and Clifton Lamothe, 31, are being held at the Broward County jail in connection to the string of violent robberies where the suspects were dressed as ninjas.
“It’s just not the person that I know,” Angela Federico said.
Federico teared up as she told CBS 4 News about Gonzalez, her boyfriend of three years.
“The person that’s this ninja robber and all these stories I’m seeing on the news and everything, that’s not the person that I know,” Federico cried.
Federico said she and Gonzalez live with Lamothe and his girlfriend.
“He’s a very, very sweet person,” Federico said of Gonzalez. “He’s never been violent with me. He’s never been threatening or anything like that. This is all a very big shock to me, which is why I’m emotional. It just doesn’t match up.”
But according to the arrest affidavit, “Gonzalez admitted to robbing approximately 10-12 other businesses including the 2 Quick Food Store”.
The same affidavit states, “Lamothe admitted to being involved in two robberies.”
The clerk at that 2 Quick Food Store in Dania Beach shop recalled the terror he felt last Friday night.
“He had a gun,” Mohammad Huq said “He put the gun to my head. I opened up the register and gave him the money.”
Investigators said Gonzalez and Lamothe made a run for it, but cops caught up with them in Hollywood.
Police said an officer shot Gonzalez, and Lamothe ended up with a black eye .
A multi-agency task force tracked them down thanks to a GPS device attached to their getaway vehicle at a BP gas station in North Miami Beach in Late August.
Surveillance cameras caught the so-called ninja robbers in action several times.
In one clip, one of the crooks put a gun to a woman’s head and threatened to “blow her brains out.”
In another instance, a man violently slammed the register on the floor before running away with cash.
In federal court, Gonzalez said he was unemployed. His girlfriend thought he was getting disability from the military. She said he’s been paying the bills while she finished school.
“I didn’t know that this was the situation,” Federico said through sobs. “If I knew that that was the pressure he was under to get money I would have done something else. I would have had a job. I would have done more to help him.”
Both men are due back in federal court on Thursday. Prosecutors are expected to ask that they both be held without bond.