Vineyard bank robbery suspects face federal charges




  • In US
  • 2022-12-04 17:08:43Z
  • By Cape Cod Times

In addition to being charged in the Massachusetts court system, Omar Johnson, 39, and Miquel Jones, 30, face federal charges in connection with the Nov. 17 robbery of the Rockland Trust bank in Vineyard Haven.

In U.S. District Court in Boston on Friday, the Department of Justice announced Jones and Johnson were charged with armed bank robbery.

Johnson and Jones will appear in federal court in Boston later, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Tisbury Police Department posted this photo of one of three people who robbed a Rockland Trust Bank at gunpoint on Nov.
Tisbury Police Department posted this photo of one of three people who robbed a Rockland Trust Bank at gunpoint on Nov.  

Probable cause hearings are scheduled in Edgartown District Court for Jones and Johnson on Dec. 12 and Dec. 29, respectively. Both have pleaded not guilty in state court to armed robbery and conspiracy. For Johnson, bail was set at $300,000 with the condition that he must wear a GPS tracking device and stay away from the bank if released, according to the clerk's office. For Jones, bail was also set at $300,000, and he must wear a GPS tracking device, stay away from the bank, and maintain an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. curfew if released, according to the clerk's office.

A third suspect remains at large.

Bank security research found on cellphone of one suspect, according to FBI

Jones' cellphone contained research on bank security measures and data that law enforcement used to discover burned clothing and equipment on a Tisbury farm where two handguns were buried, according an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Daniel Conlon. According to the document, Jones worked for a landscaping company that used the farm. Cellphone data also revealed that Jones' phone was close to the bank the night before the robbery.

During a search of the farm, police found a glove, a paper money band, zip tie and multiple rubber bands, items consistent with the robbery, according to the affidavit.

Previous reporting:Police, FBI continue search for suspects in Martha's Vineyard bank robbery

Investigators also saw an area that appeared to have had a recent fire, where they found burned pieces of nylon, white metal plastic consistent with a white mask, burned walkie-talkie pieces, an antennae, batteries and pieces of metal consistent with a duffle bag zipper, according to the affidavit. A few feet from the burned area, investigators found two semi-automatic handguns, a Luger Helwan and a Luger SCCY, loaded with 9mm ammunition buried inches under the ground. Those items, the US Attorney's office says, "were consistent with items possessed by the robbers during the robbery of the Rockland Trust bank."

On Thursday, Nov. 17, around 8:15 a.m. the Rockland Trust bank in Vineyard Haven was robbed by three people at gunpoint, police said. According to police, robbers wearing dark clothing and masks that looked like an elderly man with exaggerated facial features entered through the back of the bank and were armed with semi-automatic weapons. They forced a teller to open a vault at gunpoint, stealing $39,100. They also tied up employees with plastic ties and duct tape.

They stole a Nissan Murano belonging to one of the tellers, drove it to Manuel F. Correllus State Forest next to Martha's Vineyard Airport where they abandoned it. A black Hyundai Elantra with a missing hubcap was seen leaving the same parking lot. During the investigation by law enforcement officials, Johnson and Jones were identified as suspects. Jones was stopped on Nov. 18 driving the Hyundai and later arrested. Johnson was arrested at a car stop in New Haven, Connecticut on Nov. 23.

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When searched by law enforcement officials, the Nissan Murano, stolen from the teller, had duct tape and green shrub-like vegetation in the vehicle. The same shrub-like vegetation was found on Jones' shoes when he was arrested, according to Conlon's affidavit.

Surveillance video taken at the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority's Vineyard Haven terminal on the day of the robbery show a silver Nissan Maxima, registered to Johnson's wife, parking in the Stop & Shop parking lot across the terminal around 9 a.m., according to the affidavit. Two men got out of the car and went into the Steamship Authority terminal where they purchased ferry tickets. They boarded a ferry at 9:21 a.m., according to the affidavit. At 9:53 a.m., the Hyundai with a missing hubcap entered the Stop & Shop parking lot. At 10:01 a.m. a man got out of the Hyundai and entered the Nissan that was left behind by the two men who boarded the 9:21 a.m. ferry.

Then, the Hyundai left the Stop & Shop parking lot. The man then entered a freight ferry in the Nissan around 12:24 p.m.

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This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Alleged bank robbers on Martha's Vineyard to face federal charges

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