Belleville Police Department is asking for the public’s help in tracking down a suspected serial bank robber.
Law enforcement agents say the suspect has been linked by surveillance video to five bank robberies, including two in Belleville, in the last six months. The most recent incident, police say, took place Feb. 23, at 11:41 a.m., when the suspect walked into the Valley National Bank’s Tri-City Branch, 22 Bloomfield Ave., Belleville, and handed a teller a handwritten note reading, “Give me money have gun.”
He then walked out of the bank with $3,200 in cash, police said.
No weapon was displayed during the robbery, police said.
At the time, the man was described as Hispanic, 5-feeteight, 190 pounds, age 25 to 35, wearing a blue hooded zipup sweat jacket, red Yankees baseball cap, blue jeans, black sneakers with white soles.
Police said the same individual is a suspect in the robbing of the same Valley National bank on Nov. 6, 2012, at 12:49 p.m. In this incident, police said, the suspect presented the same handwritten note to a different teller and walked out with cash. As of last week, detectives were unable to say how much he got away with. No gun was produced, they said.
The same suspect, police said, is believed to have robbed the Valley National Bank, 128 Market St., Passaic, on Dec. 8, 2012, at 12:15 p.m., after producing a threatening handwritten note. A bank surveillance video shows the suspect wearing a black baseball cap with a red “P” logo and dark sunglasses and a black hoodie. No weapon was shown. Detectives couldn’t say how much he got.
The suspect has also been tied to the robbery of the Sovereign Bank, 466 Bloomfield Ave., Newark, on Oct. 31, 2012. In that instance, a gun was displayed by the suspect, according to detectives. The suspect looked to be wearing a blue ski hat and a black hoodie.
And, in a statement issued Nov. 7, 2012, the FBI said the same individual has been tentatively linked to the robbery of another Valley National Bank branch at 748 Mt. Prospect Ave., Newark, on Sept. 27, 2012.
The FBI declined to say how much the robber got away with in each of the latter incidents.
Belleville detectives said they were unaware how the robber made his getaway in each case.
Essex County Sheriff’s Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,500 to anyone with information leading to apprehension of the suspect.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Belleville Police Detective Mark Johns at 973-450-3356 or the FBI at 973- 792-3000 or Crimestoppers at 973-877-TIPS.
– Ron Leir