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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bank robber in Merrimack is caught while fleeing to his getaway car, police say

MERRIMACK – The man who donned a Barack Obama mask and robbed a Bank of America branch on Wednesday morning didn’t get very far: Merrimack police caught him as he was fleeing to his getaway car.

It is the third Merrimack bank to be robbed this summer. ...

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MERRIMACK – The man who donned a Barack Obama mask and robbed a Bank of America branch on Wednesday morning didn’t get very far: Merrimack police caught him as he was fleeing to his getaway car.

It is the third Merrimack bank to be robbed this summer.

Police were called shortly after 10:30 a.m. to the Bank of America in the Shaw’s plaza at 356 Daniel Webster Highway for a report of a bank robbery.

Based on witness accounts, police determined the man had fled on foot heading north. Lt. Paul Trepanney staked out Columbia Circle and spotted John Griffin Jr., 52, of 186 South Main St., Newport, coming out of the woods to the north of the bank. Griffin was arrested on the spot, police said.

Griffin is accused of walking into the bank wearing a suit, tie and the full-face Obama mask and demanding money. He was armed at the time, police believe, but did not display the weapon before leaving with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Detective Scott Park said Griffin had parked his pickup truck on Columbia Circle. Police were in the process of applying for a warrant to search the truck Wednesday afternoon.

Griffin was arraigned Wednesday afternoon at Merrimack district court on a single count of robbery and is being held at Valley Street jail in Manchester on $75,000 cash bail, police said.

Griffin is the second person Merrimack Police have charged with robbing a bank in town this summer. A third bank robber remains at large.

On June 14, a white man between 55 and 70 years old, standing about 5 feet 9 inches tall weighing 300-325 pounds with blue eyes and light colored hair, walked into the People’s United Bank at Pennichuck Square, claimed to have a bomb and demanded money.

Police are still looking for that man, who at the time was wearing a dark gray suit with a white Oxford dress shirt, a multi-colored tie, designer eye glasses and a black, Kangol style golf cap, police said.

Last month, police charged Frank Mione, 47, of 16 Birchwood Lane, Milford, with robbing the TD Bank at 300 Daniel Webster Highway on Aug. 21.

Mione was also wanted by New York authorities for his alleged role as a getaway driver in a series of high-profile bank robberies in Manhattan.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).