Affidavit: Fingerprints on GFA robbery note led to arrest

PETERBOROUGH — More details have emerged about the Nov. 18, 2013 bank robbery at the GFA Federal Credit Union in the Monadnock Community Plaza, after an arrest affidavit was unsealed in 8th Circuit Court, Jaffrey, when a bail hearing was held for one of the suspected robbers.

Christopher Clarke, 27, of Leominster, Mass., who had been arrested at his residence by Peterborough police on Nov. 23 and was being held in Massachusetts as a fugitive from justice, waived extradition on Jan. 6. Two Peterborough police officers went to Massachusetts that day and arrested Clarke on a charge of armed robbery. He was arraigned that day in 8th Circuit Court, Jaffrey and held overnight in Valley Street Jail in Manchester on $500,000 cash bail. At a bail hearing on Jan. 7, the bail amount remained at $500,000 and Clarke was returned to the Manchester jail.

The second person arrested in connection with the robbery, Michael Mack, 24, of Fitchburg, Mass., has not yet been arraigned in New Hampshire.

The affidavit related to Clarke’s arrest warrant was unsealed by District Court Judge L. Phillips Runyon III, at the request of prosecutors, on Jan. 7.

According to the affidavit, which was filed by Peterborough Police Detective Richard Sprankle, two men, who were not wearing gloves or masks, entered the bank at about 2:30 p.m. One gave a teller a note, which read “You have 30 seconds to give me all the large bills or we will shoot.” The teller told police the man said “No, more, more,” when she gave him some currency. The teller said the man was about 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighed 155 to 165 pounds, was clean shaven and holding a black semiautomatic handgun. The second man went to another window, where he was also given cash.

Police determined that the two men took a total of $11,620.

Sgt. Vint Boggis, who responded to the bank at about 2:37 p.m., after the men had left, put the untouched note into an evidence bag.

Sprankle, who also responded to the robbery, interviewed the teller who had been given the note and took her fingerprints. The note and the teller’s elimination prints were then sent to the state lab for analysis.

On Nov. 21, according to the affidavit, police were notified by the crime lab that the prints had identified Clarke. Clarke’s fingerprints were on file in an FBI database as a result of his arrest for a suspended license violation. Sprankle wrote that he contacted Leominster police, who indicated that Clarke had been involved “as an accessory after the fact in an armed robbery” in Leominster in March 2013 as well as narcotic violations. His height and weight were close to the numbers provided by the bank teller.

Based on that information, Sprankle was issued an arrest warrant on Nov. 22.

Peterborough and Leominster police arrested Clarke at his residence on Nov. 23.

After Clarke’s arrest, police identified Mack as a suspect in the robbery. Mack, who was a suspect in Massachusetts for other armed robberies in the Fitchburg, Leominster and Worcester area, was arrested by Massachusetts State Police on a Peterborough warrant charging him with armed robbery as well as on outstanding Massachusetts warrants.

Clarke is scheduled for a probable cause hearing on Jan. 16. He is being represented by the N.H. Public Defender’s office.

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