, Salem, MA

Local News

April 23, 2013

Police: Robber claimed to have bomb

Holdup at Salem bank happened as officers were tied up on marathon case

SALEM — An entire city was locked down, and police from all over the area, including Salem, were busy conducting a house-to-house manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, on Friday.

Albin Antonio Tejeda decided that it would be a good time to rob a bank, according to police.

And not only did Tejeda walk into the Eastern Bank branch on Pickering Wharf in Salem demanding money, police said, he allegedly handed the teller a note claiming, “I am strapped with a bomb.”

“While law enforcement manpower was stretched to its thinnest ... this gentleman decides to rob a bank,” Salem police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski told a Salem District Court judge yesterday during Tejeda’s arraignment on an armed robbery charge.

His claim that he had a bomb had employees terrified that they might even be dealing with an accomplice of the Tsarnaev brothers, the police prosecutor said.

“I cannot even comprehend the fear that must have been in those tellers’ minds,” Prosniewski said as he asked for bail of $100,000.

Tejeda, 23, of Everett, was caught because he took a taxi to and from the holdup, police said. The phone number of the cab company was clearly visible on surveillance video from Pickering Wharf.

Judge Robert Brennan granted the bail request after hearing details from Salem police Detective Daniel Tucker’s report.

It was just before 2 p.m. when the robber walked in with the note, which threatened that he would detonate the “bomb” if he didn’t get money, Prosniewski told the judge.

An employee quickly filled an envelope with cash, more than $11,000, including some “bait” money (money that is marked so that it can be identified later if used).

Surveillance images from the bank and from the nearby Pickering Wharf Marina quickly led police to the city of Everett.

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