EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 13, 2013

Masked man robs Methuen credit union at gunpoint

City's fourth bank robbery in six weeks

METHUEN — A rash of bank robberies in the city continued yesterday morning when a man held up an NESC Federal Credit Union branch on Pleasant Street.

The man, whom police said is between 5-feet-6-inches and 5-feet-9-inches tall, showed a handgun when he robbed the bank, located at 244 Pleasant St., at 10:45 a.m. yesterday. He was wearing dark sunglasses, a gray hooded sweatshirt with black stripes and the sleeves cut off, a dark baseball hat, a white long sleeve T-shirt, baggy blue jeans, tan work boots and black gloves with white printing.

“This is an alarming trend,” Police Detective Lt. James Jajuga Jr. said. “We’re utilizing all available resources in an effort to combat this.”

The suspect demanded money from two tellers and fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. Jajuga said police do not know whether a vehicle was involved. No one was injured, and the bank notified police.

Three grammar schools, the Timony, the Tenney and Comprehensive, instituted a brief perimeter lock down yesterday after the robbery, Superintendent Judith Scannell and Police Chief Joseph Solomon said. That means no one was allowed into the schools, which typically are locked, and no one was allowed to leave. Solomon said the measure was only precautionary, and did not change or disrupt anything going on inside the schools.

“We have no information he went near the schools,” Solomon said of the suspect. The school resource officers remained in the buildings, and no additional officers were assigned to the schools, though more were sent to that area of the city to check other banks.

Scannell said police Sgt. Jack Walsh, who oversees the five school resource officers, called her and recommended the perimeter lock down because of the robbery and because the suspect was armed. The measure started just after the robbery was reported, Scannell said, and lasted about a half hour. It did not affect dismissal.

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