SALISBURY — Six days a week for the past six years, Salisbury resident Mark Hreha has cruised the streets of Salisbury, Seabrook and Hampton delivering newspapers to businesses and households as a contractor for The Daily News. And much like police officers patroling the streets of those communities, Hreha has gotten used to the way things look on a day-to-day basis.
But when something looked out of place while he was driving past the Hungry Traveler restaurant on Beach Road on June 8 around 6 a.m. — a white Dodge Ram pickup truck with a ladder parked against the building with its plates missing — it caught Hreha’s attention.
Hreha said for weeks he had seen the truck parked next to a small cabin owned by the restaurant proprietors, one of a handful rented out to tenants on a weekly basis. But when he noticed the truck parked in a different location and realized it matched the description of a truck mentioned in a previous Daily News story regarding the Institution for Savings bank robbery the day before, he became suspicious.
“It was bizarre,” Hreha said. A few minutes later, Hreha drove by Pat’s Diner where he spotted a police cruiser in the parking lot. Popping into the popular Salisbury Square restaurant, he approached Salisbury police Sgt. Robert Roy, who had just sat down to grab a bite to eat and drain a cup of coffee.
Within moments of passing along what he noticed to Roy, the veteran police officer had called dispatch to relay the information. Minutes later, police were at the scene outside the Hungry Traveler, interviewing a man who had packed two bags and was waiting for a taxi to start his journey to New York.
The man turned out to be 53-year-old Andrew Bayko, who was charged with robbing the bank. One of the bags contained more than $6,000 allegedly stolen from the Institution for Savings, according to police.
Police gained a search warrant for Bayko’s cabin and there found evidence that linked him to the robbery. A pair of blue gloves was found inside a vat of grease behind the restaurant and clothes matching the kind the suspect wore when robbing the bank were discovered in a black plastic bag inside a nearby Dumpster.
In addition to being charged with armed and masked robbery, Bayko was also charged with use/possession of a hoax device and a previous warrant.
The bank robbery caused a major headache for evening commuters, because a phony “bomb” the robber left behind resulted in the shutting down of Salisbury Square and a portion of busy Route 1.