EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 10, 2012

Suspect to be arraigned in Salem bank robbery

Man accused in North Andover heist, two others

By Doug Ireland direland@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — SALEM, N.H. — A man already wanted for three bank robberies in Massachusetts will be arraigned tomorrow in connection with a fourth heist at Citizens Bank on South Broadway.

Joseph Costello, 26, of Wilmington, Mass., is to appear in U.S. District Court in Concord at 3 p.m., according to a court clerk.

Costello was indicted by a grand jury in federal court last week on a charge of robbing Citizens Bank on July 2. He allegedly claimed to have a bomb and a hostage when he passed a note to a teller at the bank, located inside Shaw’s supermarket.

The robber, wearing a black cap, black T-shirt and dark glasses, fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of money.

But he didn’t get far with the cash.

A dye pack included with the money exploded just outside the store, causing him to drop the dye-stained money, according to Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten.

A police K-9 unit was able to track the robber’s scent to a nearby 7-Eleven parking lot before losing it, Patten said.

Area hospitals were contacted because it was believed the robber, later identified as Costello, injured his hand when the dye pack exploded.

Costello was arrested a couple of weeks later after trying to hold up a Citizens Bank branch at Stop & Shop in North Andover.

He allegedly told a teller he had a problem with his account and then passed a note saying there was a explosive device in a deposit box, police said.

The teller told police he was initially scared but then became angry, telling the robber to remove his black hat and sunglasses and leave, which he did.

Costello was arrested at his father’s home in Wilmington after his photo, taken from surveillance footage, was publicized through the media and on Facebook. Police received several tips from people who recognized him, according to North Andover Detective Daniel Cronin.

Costello was also identified as a suspect in bank robberies in Chelmsford and Reading.

During Costello’s arraignment in the North Andover incident, defense attorney David Timmons told Lawrence District Court Judge Paul Yee that his client had a drug problem stemming from an injury he suffered while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

Costello admitted his drug dependency in court.

“I have had problems with drugs,” he said.

Costello was ordered held without bail on a fugitive from justice charge and $100,000 cash bail on the attempted robbery charge.