BURRILLVILLE – It was likely a planned hit job by an armed robber who paid mind to details, such as the location of cameras, time spent at the scene, and a getaway plan.
Burrillville Police Col. Stephen Lynch released new details this week on the Tuesday, Dec. 1 robbery of Rhode Island Credit Union in Pascoag – including enhanced photos of the vehicle he believes was used to escape the area.
Lynch is hoping that someone will step forward to help identify the suspect, or provide details about the crime, or truck used to get away.
The robbery at 60 North Main St. took place in the morning, just after the bank opened at 8:30 a.m.
At the time, six female employees were inside the facility, and no customers.
“This is an early morning robbery that goes down at the start of opening of business,” Lynch said.
Thanks to bank security footage, police know that the individual, a white man wearing a green sweatshirt, white pants, a hat and a face mask, approached the bank from a wooded area at the back of the plaza, entering the lower parking lot. The lot is used by both the credit union and other businesses in the small strip mall, such as DP Fitness Studios.
Fully masked and wearing gloves, the suspect, believed to be between 6 feet and 6 feet 3 inches tall, seems to avoid security cameras.
“We believe he’s aware of cameras in the back parking lot and walks in patterns to specifically avoid them,” Lynch said.
The robber enters the bank, and immediately shows a teller a handgun, demanding money.
“He’s in and out really fast,” Lynch said.
The speed of the incident and the man’s approach strategy have led detectives to suspect that they’re not dealing with an amateur.
“We believe the person researched the bank,” the colonel said.
The suspect leaves via a different route, exiting the bank and walking past the drive-up window, with what Lynch describes as an “obvious desire to avoid cameras, and knowledge of where they are.”
He then enters a different area of woods, headed in the direction of Sayles Avenue.
That’s how police believe he reached his escape vehicle: a 2009-2012 white Dodge Ram 1500 with a crew cab with after market rims likely made of brushed aluminum.
Thanks to photos of the truck enhanced by the Rhode Island State Police Crime Scene Unit, detectives believe it had Massachusetts plates.
Lynch notes that the escape route is another indication that the crime was well-thought out: a car parked in the bank lot may have technically offered a faster getaway, but a witness would likely have seen the plates.
While the suspect’s knowledge of the area could indicate that he was someone local, the chief notes that it remains unclear.
“Either they had an inherent knowledge of the bank and the surrounding area, researched it, or both,” Lynch said. “The person had planned extensively.”
The department is still awaiting enhanced footage of the suspect from state police, and Lynch notes he’s dedicated significant resources to solving the crime.
“This is the first bank robbery in Burrillville in at least 30 years,” he said.
State police have been assisting from an evidence development standpoint, and Lynch noted that the department is also working with the FBI.
Although police often see such crimes take place in a spree, there’s been no evidence to date that the suspect hit more than one bank. Detectives, Lynch said, are casting a wide net, looking at a broad time frame of robberies across New England and beyond for comparison.
“We have no indication of a similar pattern recently,” he said.
The chief noted that certain details – such as the type of gun or amount of money taken – are routinely withheld in such cases as they help officers to figure out if tips could be legitimate.
So far, police have received some calls from individuals hoping to provide information, but nothing substantive. Police have spoken to one potential witness – a customer using the drive-up window as the suspect exited the bank – but the man’s extensive face coverings left few clues as to his identity.
“We welcome anybody that has any information relative to this suspect, this robbery and this vehicle,” Lynch said. “We believe strongly that the photos that we’re showing are after or just before the robbery itself.”
Anyone with information should contact the Burrillville Police Detective Division at 568-6255..