NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 20, 2012

Gloucester man indicted for N.H. bank heist

A Gloucester man has been indicted on federal charges of robbing a New Hampshire bank.

Benjamin Hammond, 35, of Bond Street, was indicted April 17 on a single count of bank robbery stemming from a Jan. 18 robbery of a Sovereign Bank branch in Seabrook, N.H.

Hammond became a suspect in the Seabrook robbery after he was arrested in a similar robbery at a bank in Peabody the next day.

In Seabrook, police said, a man entered Sovereign Bank around 2:30 p.m. Jan. 18 and handed the teller a note demanding an undisclosed amount of money. The man took the money and fled on foot, according to police.

The only evidence the police initially had was a surveillance tape showing a stocky white male leaving with the money and wearing a Patriots hat and a light jacket.

Soon after, however, Seabrook police received a bulletin from Peabody police showing a surveillance image of the Peabody robbery.

The robbery of the Salem Five Savings Bank in Peabody was nearly identical to the Seabrook robbery: at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, a stocky white male in a Patriots hat and a light jacket walked into the bank, handed over a note and left on foot with the money.

Peabody police arrested Hammond on Jan. 19 and shared all of their information with the Seabrook police while he was detained. Among the evidence they included were Facebook photos of Hammond wearing a hat identical to the one worn by the bank robber in Seabrook.

"It was a pretty unique jacket and hat," Seabrook police Lt. Michael Gallagher said.

Gallagher said the cooperation between the police departments was instrumental in arresting a suspect in the case.

Seabrook police said their interview with Hammond was also instrumental. Going on information provided in the interview, with help from the town's Department of Public Works, authorities searched a trash receptacle where clothes were recovered that they believed were used during the bank robbery, Seabrook police said.

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