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April 5, 2013

Local police, FBI form bank robbery task force

Plan to review 6 area robberies since Jan. 30

LAWRENCE — Lawrence and Methuen police detectives have formed a task force with the FBI to review a string of six bank robberies in the two cities since Jan. 30.

“We’re getting together to compare notes and see if there are any similarities or connections in the robberies,” Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said of the first meeting of the agencies, set for this afternoon at the Lawrence Police Department.

“Perhaps we are dealing with the same people in some of these robberies. That’s yet to be established. But we know our two robberies appear to have been committed by the same individual at the same bank,” Romero said of the two recent heists at the TD Bank branch at 305 S. Broadway.

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said he believes there is a link between the Lawrence and Methuen robberies.

“We believe the people in last two (robberies) in Lawrence were also involved in some of the ones in Methuen,” Solomon said.

“Now that it’s across the border (of the two cities), we have Lawrence involved. It’s really become a regional issue. A person can move from one city to another. So, we’re getting together to coordinate our efforts and go over all six of the robberies,” he said.

Before the Lawrence bank robberies and soon after the second robbery in Methuen, Methuen police began working with two other police departments outside the area, according to Solomon. He declined to identify the two police departments, saying it might jeopardize the ongoing probe.

Five of the six robberies have involved TD Bank branches. All but one of the cases involved a handgun. In each of the robberies, the suspect was similarly dressed in a hooded sweatshirt with his face partially concealed with a mask.

“There are some things we believe that may in fact have some connection to Methuen, but we are not at liberty to say at this point,” Romero said.

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