The biggest loser from a bank robbery at the TD Bank on Atwood Avenue on March 22 was a cab driver who drove the suspect to the bank from Boston. The flat rate fare from Boston was $175, according to the driver’s cab company, but the driver never got his money from the suspect, who was arrested with a satchel containing $80,000 before he could get back to the waiting cab.
“Patrolman Jared DeAngelis was on his way to the bank for the alarm when he saw the man carrying a satchel, walking away from the bank,” said Det. Major Michael Colucci. “The suspect began to run to the Atwood Medical Center where DeAngelis took him down at gunpoint.”
Colucci said he was impressed with DeAngelis’ presence of mind and bravery taking down a supposedly armed robber, but he was also taken aback at the candor of the suspect, identified as Tyrone Townsend, 26, formerly of New York City but currently staying in Boston, who told detectives he took a cab from the Boston area.
“He also told us he did the same thing in New Britain, Connecticut,” said Colucci. “He got away with about $50,000 then by doing the same thing, so he thought he’d try it here.”
Colucci said that Townsend actually had no prior experience at robbing banks but apparently thought he had a winning modus operandi in going into a bank, threatening to shoot people and walking out with a lot of money. Colucci said the suspect explained that he owed money and needed a way to pay several people back. When the heist in New Britain went without a hitch, he thought he’d do it again. Colucci said Townsend actually researched the banks he would hit and thought the Johnston branch of TD Bank would be easy.
“I guess he didn’t know that the bank was only about 100 yards from the police station,” Colucci said. “I could have run there faster than a car could.”
Bank employees formally identified Townsend as the man who demanded money from the vault and New Britain Police sent Colucci still photos from that bank’s surveillance system that identified him for that robbery. Colucci said Townsend claims he spent all the money from the New Britain caper. Colucci said Townsend is being held at the ACI pending charges in Rhode Island and then Connecticut authorities will have their charges waiting after that.
“We checked out the cab driver and it was apparent that he didn’t have anything to do with it,” said Colucci. “He was just driving along when Townsend said, ‘Stop here, I have to go in the bank for a few minutes.’ As far as I know, he didn’t get paid for the ride.”