Has the "Merrimack Valley Bandit" struck again?
Tewksbury Police, the Mass State Police Crime Scene Unit, and members of the FBI Bank Robbery Task Force, aided by K9 units and armed with thermal imaging cameras are hunting a man who robbed the Tewksbury branch of2345 Main St., tonight at approximately 7:45 p.m., according to Tewksbury Police and emergency alerts.
According to Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan, the suspect is described as being a light-skinned male with a Hispanic accent, in his late 20s to early 30s. He is said to be wearing a black jacket with the hood pulled up, a black mask, dark colored pants, and beige work boots.
According to Chief Sheehan, the suspect entered the bank carrying a handgun, walked up to the tellers and demanded money. The man then left the bank with an undetermined amount of cash.
"Currently the perimeter is sealed and Tewksbury and Billerica K-9 Units are searching the area for the suspect who was seen leaving the bank on foot," said Sheehan, in a press release issued at 9:25 p.m.
Sheehan said it's not known for certain but it does appear the Tewksbury robbery is linked to a series of seven bank robberies at six different banks in the Merrimack Valley since February. The FBI, which is overseeing that investigation, has dubbed the man the "Merrimack Valley Bandit."
One clue that it could be the same suspect is that six of the seven bank robberies have been at branches of TD Bank. Previous branches struck have been in Methuen, Lawrence, Dracut and Groveland.
"We ask that all civilians stay clear of the TD Bank and the area that surrounds it until the search is completed and a thorough investigation is accomplished at the crime scene," said Sheehan. "A CodeRED Emergency Notification message has been sent to area residents describing the incident and asking for their help."
Photos of the suspect in the Tewksbury robbery are attached to this story.
Tewksbury Police are asking that anyone with any information regarding the robbery or potential suspects call the Police Department’s Dispatch Center at 978-851-7373 ext. 0. Those wishing to remain anonymous are asked to use the Tip Line at 978-851-0175 or send an email to email@example.com.
On Sunday, the Bandit may have robbed a bank in Dracut, Fox 25 is reporting.
The "Bandit" has not robbed any banks in North Andover, but police have stepped up patrols in town, especially near banks. And state police cruisers are patroling Routes 114 and 125. When the TD Bank branch on Andover Street was robbed last year by another bank robber from Maine, the suspect fled down Route 125 and onto I-495 before police apprehended him near New Hampshire.
UPDATE: The "Merrimack Valley Bandit" also reportedly robbed a bank in Hampton, N.H., and another in Methuen, also on Sunday.