Columbia County deputies arrest Fort White man accused of robbing businesses


Columbia County Sheriff's deputies arrested a Fort White man accused of robbing two businesses last month.

Deputies say they arrested 41-year-old Michael Lanter after searching his home. He's charged with assault, grand theft, kidnapping and robbery.

Deputies say the investigation began on June 27 around 9:30 p.m. when deputies they received a call from the Subway restaurant in Fort White saying that they had been robbed.

The robbery had been captured on video, however the suspect wore a mask and completely covered himself making it difficult to identify the suspect. The suspect left in what was believed to be a Chevrolet Equinox.

Two days later investigators say someone robbed the Dollar General on State Road 47 around 2:20 p.m. This robbery was also captured on video. The person in the video appeared to be the same person, who was seen leaving in a gray SUV.

After detectives reviewed and compared both videos, they were able to determine that the gray SUV was a 2010-2015 Chevrolet Equinox. Detectives used the DHSMV database to locate the owners of the gray Chevrolet Equinoxes in Columbia County. Detectives were able to identify Lanter was the owner of that type of vehicle and noted he lived near the Subway in Fort White. Lanter also matched the physical size of the robber on the videos.

As the investigation continued, Detectives discovered Lanter pawned a pistol soon after the last robbery matching the description of the gun used in both robberies. With this and other evidence, the detectives secured the search warrant.

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