'If you just knew what I had to do to get this money': Motel clerk describes conversation with suspected bank robber

Jan. 25—Hours after authorities said a Gainesville bank was robbed, a man with two little dogs checked into a motel and had a teary-eyed conversation with the front desk clerk about heaven and hell, the clerk said.

Kimberly Perez, a clerk at the Motel 6 at 1585 Monroe Drive, said David Brian Ross seemed stressed.

"He put the money up on the counter and he says, 'If you just knew what I had to do to get this money,'" Perez said. They talked for the next 30 minutes, she said.

Ross, 36, was arrested early Wednesday by Gainesville police and charged in the armed robbery at Regions Bank the day before. Police say he entered the bank about 11:15 a.m., pulled a gun and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was hurt, police added.

Based on still images from security camera footage, Ross was not wearing any kind of face covering. He fled in a newer model Ford F-150, police said.

"I said, 'What did you do?'" Perez asked the man.

She said he told her he hustled the money at QuikTrip, which she took to mean he might have panhandled for the money. "I said, 'At least they gave you enough money to get a room for two days.""

"He told me, 'I can't sleep in my truck again,'" she said. "And I went to start telling him about the shelters, and that's when he told me, 'I'm just going to get me a room for two days.' He said, 'That way I know for the next two days I get some more sleep.""

She said he seemed stressed and asked him if he was OK.

"'Life just gets hard, you know?'" she said he told her.

"And I started talking to him about things that go on in life, and he said something about, he said, 'Yeah, you got to be good or you go to hell,' and I said, 'Well, I don't think it works that way.' But we got into a conversation about the lord, and his eyes watered up. He said, 'I got to go to my room. This is getting too deep.'"

Perez said she checked the man into room 122 under the name David Brian Ross at exactly 3:47 p.m. Tuesday, adding that he had two little dogs. She said the man had been staying there on and off since Saturday.

She said authorities came in around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, showed her a picture of the man and asked if she had seen him.

"I said, 'Yeah, I talked to him a couple times,'" she said. "He was just walking around like nothing had ever happened. And they said, 'OK,' they asked me what room was he in, and I told them."

Perez said authorities were staked out all night.

"They didn't want to have no big issues or put no one in danger, so they just waited it out for him to walk out of the room," she said. "He surrendered peacefully."

She said he was arrested at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday after coming out of his room to let his dogs use the bathroom.

"He just looked down the hall and seen them and put his hands up," she said. "He didn't give them no fight or nothing."