EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 18, 2013

'Bandit' hits another bank, now suspected in 13 robberies

By Brian Messenger

---- — The Merrimack Valley Bandit is a suspect in five robberies committed in the last four days, including a string of bank robberies in Westford, Chelmsford and Acton following Sunday’s holdup of a Methuen convenience store.

The latest robbery occurred yesterday at Middlesex Bank in Acton at 2:25 p.m. The suspect — who the FBI dubbed the Merrimack Valley Bandit earlier this month — has now been linked to 13 robberies, six of them in Methuen and Lawrence.

On Sunday, the bandit is believed to have robbed both TD Bank on Bridge Street in Dracut and Route 110 Convenience on East Street in Methuen. Three robberies followed: Monday at Bank of America in Westford, Tuesday at Eastern Bank in Chelmsford and yesterday’s incident in Acton. All three robberies occurred in the afternoon, according to Methuen police.

Methuen police Chief Joseph Solomon said local police departments met with FBI investigators on Monday to review “several different leads.” The suspect has been described as a 150-pound man, 5 feet 6 inches or 5 feet 7 inches tall with manicured eyebrows.

During the majority of the robberies the suspect has shown a handgun. In some of the heists, he threatened to harm bank tellers should they disobey his commands. In each incident, he was dressed similarly in a hooded sweatshirt with his face partially concealed.

The FBI announced earlier this month they are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the robber.

Solomon yesterday asked the public to report any suspicious activity at banks and businesses to police. Solomon said people should not approach the suspect because he is considered “armed and dangerous.”

Anyone with information regarding the robberies should call the FBI at 617-742-5533, Lawrence Police at 978-794-5900, Methuen Police at 978-983-8677, Dracut Police at 978-957-2123 or Groveland Police at 978-521-1212.