FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Two men accused of robbing a number of convenience stores while dressed as ninjas will be getting out of jail anytime soon.
On Thursday, a federal judge denied bond for Michael Gonzalez and Clifton Lamothe.
The pair is suspected of pulling off up to 18 armed robberies in Miami Dade and Broward since May.
At a bond hearing in federal court his morning, prosecutors described Gonzalez and Lamothe as terrifying, violent and a danger to the community. That’s very different than how Gonzalez’ girlfriend describes the man she’s dated for the last three years.
“It’s just not the person that I know,” said Angela Federico. “The person that is this ninja robber and all these stories that I’m seeing on the news and everything, that’s not the person I know.”
“He’s a very, sweet person,” she continued. “He’s not like that at all.”
Investigators say Gonzalez confessed to up to 12 armed robberies. In court, the prosecutor said when Gonzalez was recounting to police how many hold ups he’s responsible for he said there were so many, he couldn’t remember. And the gun we see in surveillance video, attorneys say it may not have been real.
“The government prosecution didn’t even bring the gun,” said Lamothe’s attorney Jason Grey. “They could have had it with them, for all we know it could have been a BB gun, as we were saying.”
“I’m sure that’s comforting to the people in the convenience stores,” Federal Judge Lurana Snow said from the bench after hearing that.
Lamothe said he drove the get a way car in two of them. In his booking photo, we see him beat up and bruised. His attorney says police did that during the take down the same take down where Gonzaelz was shot in the arm.
“He tells me that police beat him up, they kicked him, punched him, stomped on him, hit him in the ribs and injured him,” said Grey.
Aside from his current arrest, Lamothe has a criminal history – including two recent drug arrests in Miami-Dade and Broward.
But in court, CBS4’s Ted Scouten learned he also has an impressive military background too, he was a combat medic.
“Eleven years active duty with the United States Army,” said Grey, “We believe it was with the 82nd airborne, Special Forces unit, 5 tours of duty, three in Iraq, two in Afghanistan.
Both men are being held without bond. They’re due back in court September 24.