EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 25, 2013

Police find money, gun in bandit suspect's car

METHUEN — Police Det. John DeLano and the FBI said they found a gun, money, ammunition and a night stick when they searched the car belonging to the suspected Merrimack Valley Bandit, Rafael Beamud Jr., 32, of Lowell yesterday.

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said he didn’t know how much money was recovered. However, police believe this is further evidence that they have the right suspect in the 15 robberies throughout the region.

Beamud was held without bail yesterday after being formally charged in connection with the Feb. 21 armed robbery of TD Bank on Broadway in Methuen. Police believe he is involved several armed robberies — five of them in Methuen and Lawrence, but others as far away as Acton and York, Maine.

Beamud was transferred to Plymouth County Correctional Facility following his court appearance — the same federal detention center where accused South Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger is incarcerated.

Solomon said the investigation into the serial bank robberies continued last night with local and federal authorities working to secure several search warrants at undisclosed locations.

“At some point (last night) they’ll be executing some search warrants,” said Solomon.

Beamud was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Salem, N.H., Police said they found “a couple thousand dollars in cash” on him. Working together to apprehend Beamud were police in Salem, Methuen and North Andover along with the FBI and Massachusetts State Police.

At least 15 local police departments worked in conjunction with the FBI’s Bank Robbery Task Force in recent weeks.

Beamud has long been familiar to Salem police. He is the “primary and sole suspect” in a suspicious fire investigation in Salem, according to deputy police Chief Shawn Patten. That fire destroyed Beamud’s family home Feb. 18, 2012.

He was also arrested Feb. 7 in Salem and charged with felony cocaine possession and a misdemeanor charge for transporting a controlled drug, after police discovered he had packed up and apparently planned to leave the area.

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