UPDATED: Tewksbury TD Bank Is Robbed, Manhunt Underway

Tewksbury branch is the 6th TD Bank to be robbed in the Merrimack Valley in the past two months.

Updated at 9:40 p.m.

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 tewks_detectives@tewksbury-ma.gov

Cliff the Stiff April 13, 2013 at 01:55 AM
maybe a camera further away would be better....geez
LP April 13, 2013 at 02:51 AM
I always wondered about that too. It seems like ALL security cameras don't get much accomplished because the images are "grainy" or whatnot. You would think that in a bank, there would be a high tech system in place, such as cameras at each teller that points DIRECTLY at the face of the person at the counter?
Mary April 13, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Fees have nothing at all to do with the employees. They have no say in what fees the Bank sets for its patrons. I feel bad for the employees who have to experience such a scary act of thievery. I worked for a bank many years ago and you never expect it could happen to you. I am just glad no one got hurt! I also agree that the cameras should be able to zoom onto the face of the robber.
Robert L Homeyer April 13, 2013 at 01:18 PM
An armed robbery is no joking matter. To rob a bank which is just about on the other side of the street of a large police station demonstrates how desperate this person is. This creates a very dangerous situation for the people at the bank and our citizens in the surrounding area. Lets hope we catch him soon.
Bill Gilman (Editor) April 13, 2013 at 02:06 PM
A few comments have been removed ... all having to do with one comment .... because that comment was entirely inappropriate given the seriousness of this situation.
Christian Noel April 13, 2013 at 02:14 PM
It is a tough spot for security in a bank. On the one hand you want camera's up to record the event. However, if the robber gets spooked and his timing gets off he will panic and that is how you wind up with hostage situations. So sometimes it is better to be passive and use the camera's and other intel to catch the guy later.
Comment April 13, 2013 at 02:15 PM
This camera's quality is much higher than a lot of the other surveillance shots they shared - it looks newer - not grainy. I would think the PD can probably zoom into this a little more and still have a fairly clear picture. Maybe it's time banks have to start acting like jewelry stores and buzz people in. If you have on a hood and sunglasses - you don't get in the door. It seems like it would prevent a lot of these. I think the robbers are realizing the banks security policies for employee and customer safety make it too easy to rob them. Buzz in customers or have them have to use their ATM card to enter like they have to do at the ATM kiosk. I would think it would prevent a lot of these non-professional robberies.
TONY D April 13, 2013 at 02:57 PM
It was the bank in South Tewksbury not the main bank in the center.
Kathleen Brothers April 13, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Thanks to Tewksbury PD for the calls to our home about the robbery. We live a couple of streets over from the bank. Gives us a chance to check the street and yard for anything suspicious. Then the patrol cars were going by. Gives one a very secure feeling. It really does look like the pictures from other robberies, doesn't it?i
keri April 13, 2013 at 03:10 PM
I hate to redirect cause I love Bill's work but lowell sun online has a closeup picture...
TONY D April 13, 2013 at 05:07 PM
It is the same surveillance camera picture. All they, The Lowell Sun, did was crop off the second teller. Did you think The Lowell Sun had other pictures available to them?
Joe Gandhi April 13, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Knew that one was coming. All you had to do was look at the map they had on the news the other night and see that Tewksbury was next. And, nobody was ready and waiting for it?
Joe Gandhi April 13, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Who wants to wager that when they catch the guy he'll be an illegal hispanic alien with no papers, no drivers license, no insurance, no speak englais, and a drug habit from Lawrence. (Speculation based on track records and current trends, of course.)
01876 Resident April 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Judgement will not get us anywhere Mr. Gandhi. Who has appointed you judge?
pvaughn April 13, 2013 at 10:59 PM
i think under cover vice or cameras should have been placed before this seeing the previous record and losses
pvaughn April 13, 2013 at 11:05 PM
since this has happened many times before with td banks u would think the banks would be staked out? and everybody wears a hoodie sweat shirt in the world
Joe Gandhi April 13, 2013 at 11:28 PM
01876 Resident, are you listening to yourself? Judging me? lol. Who appointed you my judge!
Joe Gandhi April 13, 2013 at 11:32 PM
That's pretty much what I was saying, pvaughn, especially given the recent hits. From above, "Knew that one was coming. All you had to do was look at the map they had on the news the other night and see that Tewksbury was next. And, nobody was ready and waiting for it?"
denise April 14, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Yes...i want to thank the TPD for the phone call the other night, i live close to that bank and appriciated that i could make sure the doors of my house were locked. and we knew what was going on.
Cs April 14, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Does anyone else find it suspicious that the same day the patch ran the story about the Merrimack valley bandit that night the td bank in Tewksbury gets robbed I personally think someone else did it making it seem like it was this bandit to cover their own horrible act
Bill Gilman (Editor) April 14, 2013 at 06:10 PM
A copycat is always possible. But we have heard from folks in Bradford who says the Tewksbury pix look just like the guy who robbed their bank. The bigger question here is if TD bank has itself a security problem. All but one of the recent robberies as TD Bank and the Tewksbury branch has been hit twice in 18 months.
Joe Gandhi April 14, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Always a possibility. Seems someone has either got a very big grudge against TD Banks themselves, or someone knows how insufficient their security is, which may imply an inside job. Maybe someone who works with installing or repairing the chain's security services. Always disturbing when someone can pull off a string of bank jobs in this day and age.


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