TAMPA (WFLA) – A known Tampa Bay area bank robber is behind bars after robbing multiple Pinellas County banks.

David Marc Ratcliff, the so-called “I-4 Bandit,” is accused of recently robbing banks in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Temple Terrace within the past month.

Ratcliff has been a known bank robber in the Tampa area with a criminal history dating back to the mid-90s and was suspected of as many as 19 bank robberies along and near the Interstate 4 corridor.

A Clearwater Police detective spotted Ratcliff’s vehicle after he robbed a Wells Fargo in Clearwater early Tuesday morning.

When a sheriff’s deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop shortly after on West Bay Drive, where he fled at a high rate of speed.

With the help of a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Clearwater police were able to track Ratcliff’s vehicle into Belleair Beach, where he abandoned the car and tried to steal a truck on Harbor Drive.

The truck owner fought with Ratcliff and was later caught by a sheriff’s office K-9 shortly thereafter.

He was taken to Morton Plant Hospital for treatment before being taken to the Pinellas County Jail.

“Thanks to information from witnesses, alert Clearwater Police detectives and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, we are grateful this repeat offender was captured,” said Clearwater Police Chief Daniel Slaughter. “Based on Ratcliff’s most recent string of crimes, we are hopeful this criminal career is finished for good this time.”

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