The man arrested for robbing a Navarre bank on Friday used a taxi cab to drive him to and from the bank, according to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Bob Johnson on Monday morning announced the arrest of 24-year-old Elijah Shelton of Niceville. He’s charged with robbery – grand theft and drug possession.
The bank robbery took place around 9:15 a.m. Friday at Synovus Bank at 8390 Navarre Pkwy. No one was injured.
Sheriff Johnson says Shelton called a taxi cab to pick him up at his Niceville home and drive him to the bank. Shelton then exited the cab and went inside and robbed the bank without a weapon, before getting back into the cab and having the driver take him home.
Sheriff Johnson says Shelton got away with about $8,300. He was arrested in Fort Walton Beach a short time after the incident.
The taxi cab driver did not intentionally help with the robbery, according to Sheriff Johnson.
Channel 3 called the driver, Johnny Bartell, on Monday to hear his side of the story.
“I think he actually intended to rob the bank on Thursday because he called Thursday and I couldn’t get to him,” Bartell said. “He called back and set an appointment for nine o’clock Friday morning.”
Bartell is the owner of “Johnny On The Spot Taxi” service. He says Shelton was only inside the bank for about four minutes before returning to the cab.
“He was wearing a turban, scarf and gloves, and I just thought, ‘Well, I’ve seen a lot of weirdos,”’ Bartell said. “He didn’t act nervous at all. He was as cool as he could be and said he just went in to make a deposit.”
Once deputies saw the security footage, Bartell was called back to the bank and helped investigators determine Shelton’s whereabouts.
Shelton is being held in Okaloosa County Jail on $262,000 bond.