SALEM — After weeks of Salem police keeping their eyes peeled for the white man of average height and brown hair suspected of a series of bank robberies, the department’s vigilance has paid off.
Yesterday at approximately 6 p.m., police nabbed the man they believe has robbed three banks since April.
Sgt. Kristian Hanson and Detectives Dan Tucker and Tom Brennan apprehended Michael Reece, 31, of 40 Ward St. after spotting him on Congress Street. The detectives engaged the suspect in conversation before finding evidence linking him to the most recent robbery, police said.
“It was an outstanding piece of police work that they got this guy,” said Capt. Tom Griffin.
After his arrest, Reece, who police say is unemployed, admitted to being involved in all three robberies.
The department, anticipating a fourth robbery, was constantly looking for a suspect whose description matched that from bank surveillance footage, Griffin said.
“Hopefully, we’re going to find more evidence that strengthens the case,” he said.
Griffin described the serial robberies as being a focal point of the force for the past few weeks.
“We’re just glad it’s wrapped up,” he said.
The first two reported bank robberies occurred April 25 and May 15 at Beverly Bank on 73 Lafayette St., where the robber wordlessly passed handwritten notes demanding cash to bank tellers.
Surveillance video from the first robbery shows a man dressed in a light-red jacket, makeup, a blond wig and a white knit hat with a flower. In the second robbery, the suspect wore a gray Patriots sweatshirt and cap.
Reece is believed to be responsible for a third robbery on May 30 at Eastern Bank on Congress Street, in which he made off with $3,000 in cash, police said. It was also the first robbery in which the robber sported a scruffy brown beard.
Cambridge police reported a similar crime Tuesday afternoon. According to a tweet from the department’s account, a large man in a purple shirt robbed Eastern Bank on Massachusetts Avenue by handing the teller a handwritten note.
There appeared to be no connection between the two cases as of yesterday evening.
Taylor Rapalyea can be reached at email@example.com.