NAPLES — Gregory Martin was generous over the Fourth of July weekend.
He treated new friends to haircuts, then paid for a bar crawl in North Naples that started in the early afternoon and lasted until after dark.
He was recently out of jail and wanted to thank his buddies for letting him crash at their apartment for a few days. The money, he told them, came from his family.
A Wachovia Bank money bag Martin left at his friends’ home seemed out of place, but when someone offers to pay for drinks, the first thought is not whether he robbed a bank in order to do it.
Martin’s friends were stunned when they say police stormed into their home searching for him.
Naples police arrested Martin on July 7, on charges that he stole more than $2,000 from a bank during a silent heist on July 2.
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When Martin called up his pal before the holiday weekend to say he would be passing through town on his way from Miami to Tampa, John Vogel looked forward to the visit.
Theirs was an unconventional friendship.
The two met while serving time in a Monroe County jail in May. Vogel was in for a month on a 2006 DUI charge. He overlapped with Gregory Martin, who owed time for bad checks.
They sat together at breakfast, and Vogel — originally from the Cape Cod area — was intrigued by Martin’s background as a boat captain.
The pair kept in touch after Vogel’s release. When Martin asked to stay with him and his girlfriend, Carla Tegenborg, over the long holiday weekend, Vogel accepted.
“He wanted to go fishing, and I’m an avid fisherman,” said Vogel, 47. “He wanted to come up and stay with Carla and I to thank me for being his friend in jail.”
Martin told them he would stay for a few days.
Tegenborg, 52, said she was a little thrown off by the visit, but went along with it, reassured by her boyfriend. Vogel told her Martin was a “good guy.”
During their conversations in jail, Martin told his new friend that he owned boats and homes in the Keys and Tampa, had two children in their 20s, and had a Master 100-ton captain’s license that he would need for running a vessel to Central America in August.
“(I) pretty much thought I knew him,” Vogel explained. “It seemed like he got his stuff together. Just a nice guy done wrong.”
The trouble started when Martin, who said he would be visiting alone, arrived in Naples July 1, with another man, Arlex Calafell, he also met while incarcerated.
Though upset with the surprise guest at their Gulf Shore Boulevard condo, Tegenborg said she let it slide, “trying to be a nice guy.”
They made burgers, and the two visitors stayed over night, one on the couch and another in the guest room.
What happened over the next three days would make Tegenborg and Vogel regret their generosity.
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Over the holiday weekend, the couple didn’t watch the news or read the paper.
If they had, they may have realized the Wachovia Bank money bag Tegenborg found in her home Saturday afternoon might have triggered a bigger response than what she recalled thinking at the time: “Isn’t this odd, why would you have that?”
Saturday morning, Martin, 49, and Calafell, 24, headed out. Martin said he needed to pick up a wire transfer from his father for a few hundred dollars. The four made plans for haircuts and lunch in the afternoon.
According to police reports, Calafell said he and Martin drove to the Publix at the intersection of U.S. 41 North and Golden Gate Parkway to go to a Western Union, but once there Martin said his father had not sent him the money. Calafell told police Martin asked him to find a nearby Wachovia Bank on his phone because he had a friend who worked there.
Calafell told detectives that they drove to the Park Shore Drive bank branch where Martin briefly entered the facility once, returned to the vehicle for 20 minutes, and headed back in wearing a black hat, according to police reports.
That morning, Naples police responded to a robbery at the bank, where three employees told law enforcement that a man came in around 11 a.m., and showed the teller an envelope with “ROBBERY” and “$3,000” written on it, according to police reports.
But before the teller could remove all of the money from her drawer, the man yelled “That’s enough,” the reports said, and he walked out short of what he originally intended — only $2,124.
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Martin treated his three friends to haircuts, lunch and drinks Saturday.
They hit up the South Street Bar, Pelican Larry’s, and — after dropping Calafell off at home because he was not feeling well — the other three went on to the Naples Beach Hotel for more cocktails until around 11 p.m.
Martin said he would pay throughout the day, and he did.
“He got his money from his sister, $500. And $200 from his old man,” Vogel said Martin told him.
At one point earlier in the day, Martin even went to the parking lot of Vogel’s condo complex to meet with his sister, who drove up from Marco Island to give him the money. At least, that’s what he told his hosts.
“He got more money than he expected from his sister, got teary,” Vogel said. “He’s a real emotional guy.”
“We had no idea. None. How would you?” Tegenborg said. “I’m thinking ‘Your family’s helping you out because you just got out of jail. My family would do that, your family would do that.’ You’re not looking for things.”
Martin had a new look when they headed out that afternoon. He had shaved off his beard, cut his hair, and was wearing a polo shirt, khakis, a belt, and leather flip-flops all borrowed from Vogel.
And so they spent all afternoon and evening together.
“He acted like we were friends, real friends,” Vogel recalled.
Vogel and his girlfriend headed home after the Naples Beach Hotel. Martin and Calafell partied on, heading to Bay Shore Drive to buy drugs, according to police reports, before spending one more night at the couple’s home.
While they were out, though, Tegenborg found the Wachovia money bag amidst her guests’ things.
“I’m thinking, ‘that’s a little weird’,” she said.
But unaware of reports of a bank robbery earlier in the day, she said she brushed it off. On Sunday, Martin and Calafell headed in a cab back to the same Bayshore residence as the night before, where according to police reports, they dropped $1,000 on cocaine and crack, and still owed a dealer $360 when they left the next day.
Which is why when their dealers drove Martin and Calafell back to Vogel and Tegenborg’s home around noon on the Fourth of July, one of the dealers entered the condo demanding money, reports said.
Vogel threw that man out and Tegenborg shoved Martin and Calafell’s items from around the house into three garbage bags, one of which she placed next to Calafell’s car, and two more in a nearby dumpster.
“I just got up on my high horse and said ‘Not in my house, not in my neighborhood',” Tegenborg said. “I did not do anything wrong.”
Though she admits that for good measure she spray painted Calafell’s license plate, hoping to cause them problems if any police saw the car like that.
“We were just pissed that they brought that kind of (expletive) back to our house after all we’d done for them,” Vogel shared. “We don’t do drugs at all. We don’t allow that at this place.”
After kicking the two men out, they locked the doors to their home.
The next knock came from police. Calafell had called law enforcement from nearby with information about the Wachovia Bank robbery, according to police reports.
The couple let police search the house, took them to the dumpster, and told them about their interactions with Martin over the weekend.
Three days later, Naples police arrested Martin near the 300 block of Seventh Street North. He is charged with two felony counts for unarmed bank robbery and grand theft.
Calafell was arrested the same day he called police, unrelated to the bank robbery; he was wanted in Miami-Dade County on drug charges.
Vogel and Tegenborg are unsure of what was truth and lies in what Martin told them. The U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center, which issues the captain’s license Martin claimed to Vogel he had, has no record of him. Martin also told his friend that this time in jail was his first run in with the law, however he has a string of arrests trailing him through several Florida counties on charges from petit theft to grand theft, bounced checks, cocaine possession, and battery.
Though the friendship is understandably over, Vogel plans to visit Martin in jail.
He wants to ask for his clothing back.
“Why should I give anything more to these guys? Why even let them have another $25?” Vogel said.
The couple plans to spend next Fourth of July away from Naples.
“If anyone can have a more bizarre weekend,” said Tegenborg, “I’d be truly amazed.”