EB I-4 reopens after Orlando police capture suspect

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An accused bank robber is behind bars, after a cunning capture spanning two counties ended on Interstate 4.

Orlando Police said John Chandler, 50, is a known bank robber in Georgia who was armed and dangerous. As he was making his getaway on I-4, unmarked police cars surrounded him making the interstate look like bumper cars.

“I was like, did somebody just rob a bank or something?” said witness Eric Babcock, who captured part of the police takedown. 

It all started at this Fifth Third Bank off of East Colonial Drive, when cops say Chandler showed a gun and demanded money. He got away with a bag of cash and sped away in his own car.  But what this suspect didn’t know was that Orlando police officers were hot on his trail tracking him eastbound on I-4.

“They slowed us down more and more and more to the point that we finally stopped and that’s when we heard a crash in front of us,” Babcock said. 

That crash was all part of the plan. Police initiated a "dynamic vehicle takedown," which is when cars block one vehicle in on all four sides and hit the brakes.

“The suspect tried to ram his way out of this dynamic vehicle takedown,” Deputy Chief Robert Anzueto said. “Once that occurred our units were able to pin him in.”

“They were jumping out of their cars with their guns drawn rushing up there,” Babcock said. 

The suspect was pulled out of his car in handcuffs as the money he stole fell into the road.

“It was bumper cars out there,” Anzueto said. “But nobody got hurt. That’s what’s important.”

When asked why OPD chose to takedown this bank robbery suspect on the heavily traveled I-4, officials said the interstate gave them the tactical advantage.  Overall the eastbound lane was shut down for about an hour. 

Authorities said they found a bag of cash and a replica firearm inside Chandler's vehicle.  He now faces charges of armed bank robbery, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, and fleeing and eluding and is locked up inside the Seminole County Jail.