Robbery task force makes arrest on its first day

NORCROSS - Just hours after the Gwinnett County Police Department announced plans to start an anti-robbery task force, officers made their first major arrest as part of the crime deterring team.

Police arrested Michael Lee Rodriguez shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Valerie Southard. She said a task force officer on patrol was questioning Norcross residents Wednesday night when he recognized Rodriguez as the alleged suspect from recent bank surveillance videos.

Rodriguez has been charged in the Monday morning robbery of the Wachovia bank located at 1625 Indian Trail Road in Norcross. An affidavit accuses Rodriguez of taking nearly $4,000 from the bank after using a hand-written note to demand a bank teller hand over cash.

Rodriguez remains at the Gwinnett County Jail with no bond. The 37-year-old has also been charged with giving a false name to law enforcement and a traffic-related charge.

"This is what the task force was created to do," Southard said. "This is what we wanted to happen. They (officers) are told to get out there and make contact with the community."

Southard said other arrests were made by force officers Wednesday night, but said she did not have the specifics of those arrests at the time.

The task force started duty Wednesday night, includes several officers and its primary focus is thwarting robberies, police said. It will continue so long as there is a criminally driven need for it, according to spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman.