Everybody has one of those days, days where no matter how positive you are at the onset, no matter how prepared you think you are, it will still come crashing down around you.
Alex had everything planned out perfectly, or at least he thought he did anyway. For Alex, it wasn’t just that fate had other plans for his perfect day, it was just that his own plans were so far from perfect…
What in the World?
Drew Armstrong was enjoying an afternoon walk in the balmy Florida sunshine when suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed something very strange. It was so jarring in fact that he had to hang up his phone call. A lady passed him and he asked her “Was he naked?” to which she replied “Yeah, he was naked…”
Who Was He?
The naked man running down the Fort Lauderdale street was a local fellow who, generally speaking, had no business being nude in public. Alex was a Lehigh University graduate who had a degree in business information systems and was working on his masters in management information systems. He was, by all accounts, a fine, upstanding young man…
Alex worked at Timeless Therapy, a Fort Lauderdale company, as a computer clerk. He also dabbled as a tutor and lifeguard as well. On this particular Tuesday afternoon, he decided to drive his 2007 Ford Mustang downtown to do some errands. His first stop was Regions Bank at 100 SE 3rd Street, in Fort Lauderdale.
He pulled behind the building, into the bank’s parking lot and gathered his courage. He had a crazy idea and was getting ready to pull it off. He knew that he had the guts to do what was needed, but hoped that he was capable enough to do it successfully. He walked inside, then up to the teller, and told her he had a gun…
I Got a Gun
Alexander Sperber was robbing Regions Bank. He quietly informed the teller that he had a gun. He didn’t of course, but he did have his left index finger extended in his jacket to make it look like a gun. He then handed her a bag and demanded that she put money into it. If she didn’t, he was going to start gunning down the other tellers.
Do It or I Shoot, Lady
The teller wasn’t sure that he actually had a gun, but she knew that her $15 an hour wasn’t enough to justify calling the man’s bluff. Fearing for her life and the safety of her coworkers, she went ahead and place approximately $4,700 into the sack. Unbeknownst to Alex, she also included a dye pack and a bait bill into the bag as well…
Alex also hadn’t counted on the dozens of security cameras dotted about the room, capturing his every move. The surveillance footage rolled on throughout the duration of the exchange, capturing a clear depiction of Sperber committing the robbery. You could even see a cast on Sperber’s left wrist: a clear indication that he was the only one who could have robbed the bank.
He took the bag of cash and fled on foot, not realizing that he’d made some fatal errors in judgement. The would-be robber had made several mistakes thus far, the first of which was leaving his own car parked behind the bank, the second was being on camera with a distinguishing characteristic. He made his way down the street in broad daylight, certain he was home free…
A Crimson Bang
As he walked on, the bag of cash swinging in his hand, the dye pack activated and exploded. The red dye it released coated Sperber’s hand, his cast, and most of his clothing. Alex panicked, he obviously hadn’t anticipated the booby trap. So he did the only thing he could, he removed all of his clothes and ran down the street.
Dennos Toledo was also walking down that sunny street that Tuesday when he noticed the naked robber barrelling his way down the boulevard. “When I initially saw him I thought he was maybe a mental patient but then when I heard about the bank robbery I thought it was more shocking and could’ve been dangerous…” A few moments after he ran past Dennis, Alex made another decision…
Bad to Worse
Naked and physically stained by his mishandled foray into criminality, Alex Sperber finally realized that things had gone out of control. He knew that by that moment, several bystanders had seen him running naked down the street and had to think of a way to try and pick up the pieces of his hopelessly broken crime.
No Cash, No Crime
He then had a wonderful idea, or rather, it seemed wonderful in the moment. He opened up the bag and began to throw handfuls of $100 and $50 bills into the air. He was creating quite a stir on the Fort Lauderdale street now and if the police hadn’t already been alerted by the bank, they surely would have tracked him down by his naked escapade. And track him down they did…
The police eventually grabbed hold of Alex and brought him, handcuffed, naked, and covered in a yellow tarp, to see the teller he had threatened. Though taken aback by the jarring appearance of the would-be robber, she instantly identified him as the culprit. The bait bill in his bag also matched the one she had added for the robbery.
Take Him In
Sperber was taken into custody at 800 NE 4th Street and identified at the same location. Despite his positive attitude earlier in the day, he was in quite a state by the time Fort Lauderdale Police picked him up. The officers soon became concerned for his health, however, and decided to call EMTs to take him by ambulance to Broward Health Medical Center….
The police wanted to make sure that everything was ok with Mr. Sperber before they booked him. After the tests revealed him to be in perfect health, he was interviewed at the hospital by FBI Special Agent Bronstein who found him to be “conscious, coherent and uninjured.” The agent then advised Alex of his Miranda rights, which he waived, and agreed to be interviewed without a lawyer present.
No Good Reason…
Alex Sperber was being taped during the interview. When asked why he committed the crime, he told Agent Bronstein that he’d simply woken up on Tuesday “and decided to rob a bank.” Then, he made the conscious decision to flee by running naked down the street while throwing stolen money to people all in a misguided attempt to jumpstart his career as a comedian…
When he was brought into the court the next day, Alex’s situation finally seemed to hit him. He looked disturbed and uneasy and told his lawyer that he was having a panic attack. His lawyer, Michael Gottlieb, comforted him and pleaded with the judge saying, “This young man is in jail for the first time in his life…He needs to be hugged. He has no violent history.”
Has a Record
Sperber may not have had a violent history, but he did have a criminal background of sorts. Like most people, he had a number of citations for traffic violations including failure to obey a traffic sign and following too closely. He was also arrested in 2014 on a charge of use of 911 for a false alarm and providing false info. No charges were filed back then, but the same was not true now…
At the time of the incident, Alexander Sperber was held at the Broward County Jail without bail, awaiting transfer to federal custody. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida then charged him with the simple, yet serious crime of bank robbery. If convicted, the federal offense carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Adrianna Sperber, Alex’s 21-year-old sister, has come out publicly in defense of her brother, whom she says suffers from mental illness. Apparently the Florida courts thought so too, because Alex has been found not guilty by reason of mental illness and though he will remain jailed, will be given all the help he needs to get well.