PUNTA GORDA — Port Charlotte resident Marcus Dontell Lloyd, 35, co-owner of Big John’s & Lloyd Boys Barbecue in Punta Gorda, was arrested in a string of bank robberies last month.
His arrest shocked local family members and rocked the restaurant’s management. His father, John Lloyd Sr., 58, said he’s working to withdraw his own name from the business in order to turn it over to Marcus’ older brother, John Ramone Lloyd Jr.
John Jr. said he’s committed to keeping the restaurant operating.
“That’s the plan,” he said Friday. He declined further comment.
Marcus, who had been paroled in 2007 after serving seven years of a 10-year sentence for bank robberies committed in 1998, was arrested Aug. 21 after a bank robbery in Boynton Beach, Fla.
He since has been identified as a suspect in several more committed within the past two months in the Florida towns of Apollo Beach, Lakeland and Ormond Beach, according to police and sheriff’s reports.
“It is a shocker,” said Judy Jones, founder of the Bread of Life mission, who is Marcus’ aunt and John Sr.’s sister. “Words cannot express. It has really taken a toll on the family and loved ones. I feel so sorry for this situation. The Lloyd family really needs prayers right now.”
Jones said both Lloyd brothers worked for years in their father’s catering business, Big John’s Barbecue, which John Sr. started some 40 years ago.
About a year ago, the brothers encouraged John Sr. to launch the restaurant, located at 502 King St., in hopes of taking that legacy to a new level, Jones said.
She said Marcus’ fall illustrates the “call of Satan.”
She said she wants to urge residents to patronize the business now more than ever, to help John Jr. re-establish its legacy.
‘Taking on Goliath’
“I want people to realize the Lord’s voice is still going on,” Jones said. “I just want them to realize (John Jr.) is a young man down here taking on Goliath.”
Marcus’ arrest came after Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the robbery at the Bank of America in Boynton Beach at
1:50 p.m. Aug. 21.
The suspect, a black male wearing blue medical scrubs and a visor, “jumped the counter” and demanded money. He fled on foot with a bag containing more than $7,000, according to PBCSO detective’s affidavit.
The suspect also stole the teller’s iPhone, and that helped lead deputies to Marcus Lloyd. Deputies used the stolen phone’s GPS unit to track it as it traveled north on Interstate 95, according to the affidavit.
Deputies in a patrol car and helicopter caught up to the suspect car in Jupiter, Fla. A traffic stop was initiated. As the vehicle slowed, a suspect fled on foot, dropping the bag of stolen money, according to the affidavit.
The cops lost sight of the suspect as he climbed a wall into the Indian Creek subdivision. However, deputies used a police dog to track him into a house, where they found Marcus hiding in a bathtub, according to sheriff’s reports.
Marcus resisted arrest, so a Palm Beach Sheriff’s dog was set loose to subdue him. Marcus put the dog “in a choke hold trying to hurt the dog,” the detective’s affidavit states.
Jones said Marcus’ ear had to be “sewn back on” after the arrest. He was also “badly beaten,” she said, citing reports from other family members. A Palm Beach Sheriff’s spokeswoman did not respond to requests for details regarding the injuries.
Marcus resides on the 22500 block New York Avenue, Port Charlotte, according to sheriff’s reports.
He is the father of two girls, a 6-year-old and an 8-month-old, according to his father.
The driver of his alleged getaway car, 28-year-old Kaylee Liana Sanchez, told detectives she’d known Marcus for three or four weeks. After a night in a Boynton Beach motel, she said she parked near the bank and Marcus exited, reports show.
Dye pack explodes
“He then returned in about three or four minutes and got into the back seat and he told her to drive,” the PBCSO affidavit states. A dye pack exploded as Lloyd approached the car, she told deputies.
Detectives in several other counties subsequently identified Lloyd as a suspect in several more robberies. They include:
• The 9 a.m. July 27 robbery of a TD Bank in Apollo Beach, in which the suspect wore a full-face motorcycle helmet and fled on a red bicycle.
• The 4:30 p.m.
July 27 robbery of a Bank of America in Lakeland.
• The 4:05 p.m. July 31 robbery of a BB&T Bank in New Port Richey, Fla.
• The 10:16 a.m. Aug. 2 robbery of a Bank of America in Ormond Beach.
John Sr. said his son lived with him in Punta Gorda for several months after his release from federal prison on his 1998 robbery convictions.
“You know how, a young man out of prison, he ain’t going to stay with his daddy,” John Jr. said. “Marcus at that time, he lived with girls and enjoyed himself.”
John Sr. said he’s quitting the restaurant business to give John Jr. control.
‘No more prisons’
“Johnny’s running it right now, and unless it’s done Big John’s way, I’m getting out,” John Sr. said.
He also said he’s busy with other pursuits, including his job as a city utilities worker for the past 40 years, and his catering business.
“It’s just too hard for me to be a part-time owner of a restaurant,” he said.
John Sr. said he thought his son, Marcus, had left his criminal past behind.
“I promised him I wasn’t going to no more prisons in my life when I picked him up (from prison five years ago),” John Sr. said.
The restaurant fared well during the winter, but business took a dip during the summer, he said. John Sr. speculates tight finances spurred Marcus’ alleged spree.
John Sr. said he hopes his oldest son succeeds.
“It’s going to take a lot of work,” John Sr. said. “He’s going to have to let God lead him. He’s going to need a miracle; he’s going to need the community to forgive him for Marcus and support a minority business.”