By Doug Ireland
---- — LONDONDERRY — An unidentified man was being held by police last night in connection with a robbery at Citizens Bank on Nashua Road.
Police released few details, but confirmed an arrest had been made and a sport utility vehicle — fitting the description given by a witness — was seized outside Cafe Teresa at 103 Nashua Road.
“We have a subject in custody,” Detective Sgt. Kim Bernard said at about 7:15 p.m. “We do not know if he is the bank robber.”
Bernard said the man was arrested at 5:41 p.m. on a bench warrant in an unrelated case and is believed to be connected with the robbery. But Bernard said he could not provide further details, including where the arrest was made.
More information about the man was to be revealed at his arraignment this morning in 10th Circuit Court in Derry, Londonderry police Lt. Kevin Cavallaro said.
More than a half dozen police cruisers responded to the bank about 4 p.m. after a stocky man in a brown coverall and a blue baseball hat with a red brim passed a note to a teller, Cavallaro said.
The robber was described as between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall, with either a missing front tooth or crooked teeth, he said.
There were few, if any, customers in the bank at the time and no employees were harmed as the robber fled the bank at 42 Nashua Road, Cavallaro said.
“There was no weapon displayed,” Cavallaro said. “There was no threat of violence.”
The bank was immediately closed.
A witness told police the man hopped into a white SUV, believed to be a Chevy Suburban, and sped off on Garden Lane. The witness said the SUV had heavy front-end damage and was missing its front license plate.
Police cordoned off the bank’s entrance with yellow crime tape as investigators spoke to bank employees. Six officers, including one with a high-powered rifle, gathered in the bank parking lot. Several other officers and police cruisers with flashing blue lights were stationed throughout the plaza.
An officer ordered a bystander to get in his car as a police dog was called in to search the property. Although the robber was gone, the dog was used to see if he dropped anything, Cavallaro said.
Curious employees and customers at stores in the plaza peered out shop windows and stepped out in the street to watch as police investigated the robbery.
Cindy Tran, 26, of Londonderry was working at Blackberry Bakery when she saw the police and flashing blue lights outside. She and owner John Crandall went outside to get a closer look.
“I thought it was an accident,” she said. “I didn’t know it was a robbery.”
But most plaza customers continued along their way. Few expressed concern for their safety after being told a bank robber was on the loose.
“I would be nervous if he had a gun,” said Laurie Moran, 53, of Derry. “I hope they catch him.”