Arrests in GFA bank robbery
Report: Note threatened violence
PETERBOROUGH — Evidence at the crime scene and details provided by eye witnesses and bank employees helped lead to the recent arrests of two Massachusetts men in connection with the Nov. 18 robbery at the GFA Federal Credit Union on Jaffrey Road. One of the men is also a suspect in the Nov. 12 robbery of a Massachusetts credit union.
The announcement of the arrests late Wednesday, along with subsequent published reports out of Massachusetts, paint a picture of what transpired inside the GFA branch that afternoon.
On Nov. 23, police from Peterborough and Leominster, Mass., arrested Christopher M. Clarke, 27, of Leominster at his residence, according to Peterborough Police Chief Scott Guinard. Clarke was charged with armed robbery and was held in Massachusetts as a fugitive from justice while police applied for a warrant to bring him to New Hampshire for trial.
After Clarke’s arrest, police identified a second man, Michael Mack, 24, of Fitchburg, Mass., a suspect in Massachusetts for other armed robberies in the Fitchburg, Leominster and Worcester areas. On Wednesday, Mack was arrested by Massachusetts State Police on a Peterborough warrant charging him with armed robbery as well as on outstanding Massachusetts warrants.
Mack was held in Massachusetts on $100,000 cash or $1 million bond at his arraignment Thursday on a charge of being a fugitive from justice, according to Fitchburg District Court records obtained by Fitchburg’s Sentinel & Enterprise. Leominster police are seeking a warrant to arrest Mack for the armed robbery of the Digital Federal Credit Union at 1123 Central St. in Leominster on Nov. 12, the Sentinel & Enterprise also reports.
Lieut. Michael Goldman of the Leominster, Mass., police told the Ledger-Transcript Monday that Leominster police conducted surveillance with Peterborough police in connection with this case. Leominster police arrested Clarke on a charge of being a fugitive from justice and possession of a Class A drug, believed to be heroin, Goldman said.
Clarke is being held in Massachusetts on $15,000 cash bail on the fugitive from justice charge, according to the Sentinel & Enterprise.
Leominster District Court staff said Monday that Clarke is due in court for a pretrial hearing on Dec. 18.
N.H. Circuit Court officials said Monday that neither man has yet been scheduled for court appearances in New Hampshire.
The robbery occurred at about 2:35 p.m. on Nov. 18, when two men entered the credit union and one of them displayed a gun. The men took a little more than $11,000 in cash, according to a press release from Guinard about the arrests. They left in a car with Massachusetts license plates.
One of the men reportedly threatened to shoot a bank worker, according to court documents obtained by the Sentinel & Enterprise, showing a note that read, “You have 30 seconds to give me all of the large bills or we will shoot.” And one of the suspects allegedly threatened to shoot a teller with a black semiautomatic handgun, according to the Massachusetts court documents.
Guinard said some of the money was recovered at a residence in Gardner, Mass., and a vehicle belonging to one of the suspects has been seized.
According to Guinard, Clarke was identified as a suspect after Peterborough Sgt. Michael Chapdelaine and other police personnel collected physical evidence at the crime scene. He said accurate details provided by bank personnel and eye witnesses helped lead to the arrests.
Guinard said the investigation was a collaborative effort by Peterborough police, Massachusetts police and the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Laboratory.
Tina Sbrega, president of the GFA Federal Credit Union, said Monday that employees were glad to hear about the arrest.
“The Peterborough Police Department did a fabulous job,” Sbrega said. “Obviously that brings some closure to our staff.”
Associate Editor Priscilla Morrill contributed to this report.