EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 15, 2013

'Bandit' comes back for more

Hits bank second time in a week; may have accomplice getaway driver

DRACUT — It looks like the criminal dubbed the “Merrimack Valley Bandit” is going back to banks he’s already robbed.

The bandit struck again yesterday just before closing time at TD Bank branch at 1255 Bridge St. — a bank he allegedly robbed just about a week ago, according to information provided by police.

A bank surveillance photo from yesterday’s robbery did not reveal if the bandit had a gun.

Police believe this is the ninth or tenth time he has struck a TD Bank branch in the Merrimack Valley since Jan. 30. He may have a getaway car waiting outside.

A Hampton, N.H. bank was also robbed yesterday afternoon, prior to the Dracut holdup. Police last night were trying to determine if the Merrimack Valley Bandit was involved in that one.

The rash of robberies has continued, even after the FBI announced last week they are offering a $10,000 reward and organized a task force to investigate. Similar heists have occurred in Lawrence, Methuen, Groveland and Tewksbury

As the robberies continue, the bandit is becoming more brazen, police said.

“After the fifth or sixth bank robbery, we noticed he was getting more aggressive, giving directions and ordering people around,” said Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon.

Yesterday, the bandit was wearing a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers. His face was partially covered by a cloth.

He entered the bank about 10 minutes before the 4 p.m. closing time, walked up to the counter where there was another customer, demanded money and fled onto Emerson Street toward Willard Street, according to police radio broadcasts.

No further information on the bank robbery was released last night by Dracut police.

However, the same TD Bank in Dracut was robbed by the Merrimack Valley Bandit on April 8 at 5:29 p.m., according to information provided by the FBI last week.

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