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November 21, 2012

Police: Jilted lover falsely IDs rival man as bank robber

Officer traces tip to accuser's cell phone, according to report

HAVERHILL — A New Hampshire man is accused of calling police and falsely identifying another man as the person who robbed a bank last week in Haverhill.

Investigators said Anthony Drago, 47, 48 Theresa Ave., Salem, gave the bad information on the Police Department’s tip line because he was part of a “love triangle.’’ He is angry that a woman he had a relationship with is now living with her former boyfriend — the man Drago identified as the robber, police said.

Detectives said they were able to charge Drago after tracing the false tip to his cell phone.

Drago was arraigned in Haverhill District Court yesterday on a charge of obstructing a police investigation. Police said he called the Haverhill Police Department’s tip line to falsely identify Joseph Jennings Jr., 43, of Plaistow as the perpetrator of last Friday’s Sovereign Bank robbery.

Police said Drago left them a voice message stating the bank was robbed by Jennings. The tip said officers would find a black ski mask and knife used in the robbery at the Plaistow property where Jennings and his girlfriend live, police said. The tip said the items were in a garage on the property, police said.

Police said they eventually determined the information was not true, however. They said they easily traced the call back to Drago because he used his cell phone to make it.

Police reports said Drago had a short romantic relationship with Jennings’ girlfriend while Jennings was incarcerated at Middleton jail, but that Jennings moved back in with the woman after he was released a few months ago. The reports said both men have filed various complaints against each other with Salem police in recent months — Jennings claiming Drago stole his hunting equipment and Drago claiming Jennings threatened him with violence.

Haverhill Detective Carl Rogers said he and another officer went to see Jennings after police received the phone tip about the bank robber. Rogers said they determined Jennings had nothing to do with the robbery after searching the garage and then reviewing Jennings’ automobile and body for ink marks from the stolen money bags.

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