SALISBURY, Mass. — A routine sweep of license plates by state police bagged them an unexpected prize — an alleged bank robbery duo whom police had been seeking for almost two weeks.
A New Hampshire couple, alleged accomplices in the New Year’s Eve armed robbery of a downtown Haverhill TD Bank, were arrested by state and local police at a Salisbury Beach motel and will soon be arraigned in Haverhill District Court.
Andrew J. Billcliff, 25, 7 Kimberly Road, Kingston, and Jillian E. Shay, 24, 7A Button Drive, Londonderry, were arrested Friday at the Beachway Motel on Beach Road without incident after state police conducted a routine check of license plates, according to state police.
According to state and Haverhill police, it is believed Billcliff and Shay played a role in the robbery that allegedly saw 27-year-old Leo Willwerth of Seabrook walk into the TD Bank branch and threaten to detonate a bomb inside the bank if he didn’t receive money.
The duo were arraigned in Newburyport District Court on Friday on charges of receiving stolen property over $250 after state and local police discovered a large amount of gold jewelry in their motel room, believed to have been stolen during a Derry housebreak. A getaway car used during the bank robbery was found parked outside the motel, according to Haverhill police.
They were expected to be arraigned on armed robbery charges soon in Haverhill District Court.
Police allege that on Dec. 31, just before the 5 p.m. closing time, Willwerth walked into the TD Bank at 153 Merrimack St. in Haverhill, acting like a customer, then handed a teller a deposit slip with instructions written on it.
According to a police report, Willwerth’s note read, “Do not panic, we have a bomb, I got a gun, empty your drawer, no dyepacks, no trackers,” and “safely call the cops when I exit.” The suspect was handed $860 in cash, then left the bank on foot. Police said Willwerth did not display a weapon or a bomb during the robbery. The robbery was reported to police about 5:03 p.m.