Frank Bower being questioned by detectives. (Source: KLTV news staff)
RUSK COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -
An East Texas community is stunned after hearing their friend and former neighbor confess to being a part of the so-called 'ninja robbers'.
Frank Bower, who used to live in Rusk county, was arrested in Florida in July.
And that's after, Frank claimed, leaving behind a life of crime.
Bower is in a Florida county jail along with several other suspects, accused of breaking into upper-scale homes, tying people up and then robbing them.
They were dressed, Florida investigators say, in head-to-toe black.
People in Rusk county knew Frank Bower's past and his ministry in Rusk county, but his arrest and confession still comes as a shock.
"I was real surprised because when he was here and we knew about him, he had the little retreat down the road, and he seemed like he was doing real good with it," says New London Resident John Davidson.
In a recorded interview with Florida investigators, Bower said he was broke financially when he robbed a Florida home with other men.
Bower named fellow suspect Andres Perez as the leader, the man who ran the show.
"Who planned it, and who's idea was it and who seemed to be in charge?" the Florida detective said.
"Andres. He's been doing it fifteen years and nobody's ever caught him. You know, so figure that one out," Bower said.
"He would come in and eat with us, seemed like a real nice man. I thought everything was on the up and up with him," Davidson says.
But not everybody got that impression, because 10 years ago, in an interview with KLTV, Bower claimed he had once been involved with the mafia as a bodyguard for mob boss John Gotti.
"It's scary to not know things about people who live in your own community," says Debra Hamilton.
Bower said he was only involved in the Florida home invasion, but that the other suspects were involved in similar break-ins in Florida and East Texas.
Texas investigators say there still may be more suspects involved.