Fort Lauderdale- A man that was accused of robbing a downtown bank and then running naked while tossing cash to strangers appeared distressed Thursday during a court hearing for his case.
As a detention officer brought Alexander Hayden Sperber, 25, to the defense table in the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Sperber asked his mother Karina Sperber if she had medication.
“I’m having a full-blown panic attack,” he told her. His lawyer, Michael Gottlieb, comforted the shackled man who wore tan scrubs and black rubber shoes.
Sperber is facing a bank robbery charge.
Then the brief hearing began, with Judge Lurana Snow presiding via video remotely from Key West.
Snow told Sperber that a detention hearing would be held Wednesday, when it may be determined whether he is a danger to the community or poses a serious risk of flight, or both. A judge could rule then whether Sperber will be given bond.
According to the FBI, Sperber parked his red Ford Mustang near a Regents Bank at 100 SE Third Ave. on Tuesday afternoon, told a teller he had a gun and that he would hurt her and others if his needs weren’t met.
Court documents did not describe a weapon, and said Sperber pointed his hand like it was a gun.
The teller put about $4,700 in Sperber’s bag. After he left the bank, a red dye pack exploded, staining his clothing and a cast on his left wrist.
Sperber stripped off all of his clothes and threw money as he ran around Las Olas Boulevard and the business district until Fort Lauderdale police caught him at 800 NE Fourth St., the FBI said.
Paramedics took Sperber to Broward Health Medical Center, where he was found to be “conscious, coherent and uninjured,” according to court documents.
In an interview with a special agent, Sperber claimed he acted as he did to launch a career as a comedian.
Sperber’s computer engineering studies at a university in the northeast were interrupted “due to unforeseen mental difficulties,” Gottlieb said after Thursday’s hearing.
“This young man is in jail for the first time in his life,” Gottlieb said. “He needs to be hugged. He has no violent history.”