NEWBURYPORT — Mindful that the suspect behind a string of recent bank robberies in Methuen and Lawrence, dubbed the Merrimack Valley Bandit, could turn his attention to Greater Newburyport, local police departments have increased patrols of area banks and begun coordinating efforts to perhaps catch him in the act.
Since February, the Merrimack Valley Bandit is known to have robbed seven banks including the TD Bank North branch in Groveland earlier this week. In all but one of the robberies, the suspect brandished a weapon, demanding money from frightened tellers. Most of his robberies have occurred at TD Bank North branches.
In each of the robberies, the suspect was similarly dressed in a hooded sweatshirt with his face partially concealed. He is believed to be 18- to 24-years-old, between 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a stocky build and thin eyebrows. Law enforcement is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to his arrest.
In Georgetown, one town over from Groveland, police Chief Jim Mulligan said officers at the Central Street police station were watching the nearby TD Bank branch as well the town’s other banks very closely. Officers are given daily reminders of the suspect’s appearance and scraps of information are passed along.
“We are all on high alert,” Mulligan said.
Should the Merrimack Valley Bandit decide to target banks closer to the coast, Newburyport would prove to be a tempting target, as multiple banks are located on Storey Avenue near Interstate 95, making it easier for thieves to elude authorities. In recent years, the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank and the nearby Eastern Bank have been robbed. Closer to the downtown area, the TD Bank branch was robbed a little over two years ago. All three suspects in those robberies were caught by police.