Cocoa bank robbery foiled by former Marine

Investigators are looking into connection to similar Orlando robbery

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This still frame from a security camera shows the robbery suspect and Eugene Storley, 65, fighting in the bank. / Courtesy Cocoa Police Department

COCOA, Fla. - An armed man rushed into a bank and tried to threaten a teller, but a 65-year-old Marine who witnessed the incident said, "You've got to be kidding me," and halted the robbery after reaching for the man's gun.

Local 6 News partner Florida Today reports Eugene Storley tussled with the suspected robber, later identified by Cocoa police as 43-year-old Edward Sotelo, who broke loose and ran out of the Wells Fargo on U.S. 1 without getting any money.

"I'm pretty well trained," Storley said. "I know I could've gotten him. Even though the guy is like 6'6" and I'm only like 5'7.""

Storley is a retired police officer from Miami, and though he had half his stomach removed because of cancer about seven months ago, the robber fled from their fight.

"It was pretty cool," Storley said.

Sotelo was arrested by Cocoa police shortly after the Monday afternoon robbery and nobody was injured. Sotelo is charged with armed robbery, assault with a firearm, battery on an elderly person and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sotelo was wearing a hardhat and surgical mask, and Cocoa Police spokeswoman Barbara Matthews said they are investigating possible connection to an Orlando crime involving a similarly dressed suspect.

Storley said he wasn't scared of the robber and was mostly concerned with the safety of other bystanders, which he said included a couple small children.

"I wasn't going to let this guy get away with anything," Storley said. "He would have had to shoot me if worst came to worst before I'd let him hurt anybody in the bank."

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