EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 30, 2013

'Bandit' suspect confessed to string of bank robberies

Fingerprints on a plastic bag left behind at the TD Bank on Broadway in Methuen, led to the arrest of the man known as the Merrimack Valley Bandit, federal authorities say.

The suspect, Rafael Beamud Jr., 32, of Lowell, has also confessed to a string of area bank robberies, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court following his arrest last week in Salem, N.H.

During an interview with police, Beamud confirmed he was the suspect pictured in surveillance photos from a Feb. 21 robbery at TD Bank on Broadway in Methuen, according to the complaint.

Beamud went on to tell police that the maroon Kia SUV he was driving prior to his arrest was the same vehicle he used as a getaway car “for all but two other bank robberies including Lawrence, Dracut, Chelmsford, Acton, Groveland and others.”

In the complaint, FBI Special Agent Laurence Travaglia wrote that investigators identified Beamud as their suspect using a series of bank surveillance photos and three fingerprints on a plastic bag that was left behind at TD Bank on Broadway.

“Beamud gave bags to the bank employees who put money into the bags,” Travaglia wrote. “He believed he took the bags, apparently unaware that he had left a bag behind.”

Beamud’s arrest capped a two-month police investigation for the suspect the FBI dubbed the Merrimack Valley Bandit. At least 15 local police departments worked in conjunction with the FBI’s Bank Robbery Task Force in recent weeks.

Beamud was charged last week with armed bank robbery in connection to the Feb. 21 robbery in which he allegedly stole $4,162. But he is also a suspect in at least 13 other robberies in the Merrimack Valley area and York County, Maine.

“Once we had the fingerprint match, we knew it was the same guy (robbing) all those banks,” said Methuen police Chief Joseph Solomon.

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