Longboat robber faces life sentence

Latarious Harvey

Editor & Publisher

The man who planned the robbery of a Longboat Key couple, Latarious Harvey, has been found guilty and is facing a possible life in prison sentence.

In a scene that is more likely to occur in Miami than Longboat Key, two residents were robbed at gunpoint at the Islander Club parking lot in April 2018.

Robert and Elyse Schneider were returning from an evening after dining at the Bonefish Grill in Bradenton and then making a stop at the WalMart on Cortez on the way home.

According to Longboat Police, they were followed by a car full of men who had identified the couple as wealthy and therefore followed them home.

According to the police report, the Schneiders were driving a 2014 Mercedes E350 convertible and had arrived home at approximately 10 p.m. pulling into the covered parking space.  That is when two black males armed with semi-automatic pistols approached the couple and ordered them out of the vehicle.

The husband stated in the report that his wife’s purse was left in the car and that one of the men physically removed his $35,000 Rolex from his wrist as well as reached into his pocket to take his keys and his wallet. The two men attempted to get into the Mercedes and drive away with it, but according to the police report, Robert Schneider said the men couldn’t figure out how to get the vehicle into reverse. The two men then left the vehicle running and got into their original car and fled at high speed.

Robert Schneider then began honking the horn trying to get someone’s attention.

Two witnesses were just pulling into the parking lot when the suspect vehicle was leaving and saw what was going on. The witness who was driving drove up to the Schneiders and spoke briefly with them, before deciding to follow the suspect’s car southbound on Gulf of Mexico Drive.

Another resident who witnessed the incident notified the Longboat Police and Officer Houchins called the Sarasota Police Department, which then attempted to conduct a vehicle stop. The suspect vehicle would not stop for Sarasota Police, and a vehicle pursuit into Manatee County ensued. According to the police report, objects were being thrown from the vehicle as the pursuit continued. The vehicle finally stopped and the three occupants then fled on foot, and one of the occupants was apprehended by a police K-9 and transported to the hospital for treatment of the dog bite.

In all, the items stolen were a $35,000 Rolex watch, a men’s wallet with driver’s license, $200 cash, 10 credit cards, a blue purse with $20 cash, 10 credit cards, two Mercedes key fobs and two key fobs to the condominium.

Although Harvey was caught in April 2018, his two accomplices got away that night.

Detectives have since used phone records, license plate readers and surveillance video to put together enough evidence to arrest the accomplices, identified as Travis Cooper and Eric Dudley. Dudley pleaded guilty in January 2019 and was sentenced to 20 years.

Cooper turned State’s witness, testifying against Harvey at the trial. Cooper said it was Harvey’s idea to steal the car and that Harvey had a contact in Miami that would pay him $15,000 for the vehicle.

Also at trial, prosecutors said Harvey made phone calls from jail to a psychic in Kissimmee to whom he confessed to the crimes.

Harvey was released from prison in 2017 for selling fentanyl. As a re-offender, he is facing possible life in prison after being convicted of armed robbery, armed burglary, fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer without violence and driving while license suspended.

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