SALISBURY — A man accused of forcing the evacuation of Salisbury Square Friday evening when he brought a cardboard box into a bank and claimed it was a bomb is expected to be arraigned in court today following his arrest Saturday morning at his home.
Police didn’t have to go far to find him — he lives less than 2 miles from the bank, and he spent part of Friday evening watching the Boston Bruins playoff game as police searched for him.
Andrew S. Bayko, 53, of 100 Beach Road, No. 4, Salisbury, was arrested Saturday morning at his cabin behind the Hungry Traveler restaurant thanks to a tip from a delivery driver. He spotted a white truck matching the description of the vehicle that had been seen speeding away from the Institution for Savings branch office in Salisbury Square.
Upon learning Bayko had an outstanding warrant for his arrest issued by state police based on an OUI charge, officer Richard Dellaria and Sgt. Robert Roy visited Bayko’s residence and arrested him without incident. Police gained a search warrant for Bayko’s residence and there found evidence that linked him to the robbery. He was charged with armed and masked robbery, use/possession of a hoax device and a previous warrant. Bayko is being held on $250,000 bond, according to police.
About 5:10 p.m. on Friday, police responded to the Institution for Savings after Bayko, dressed all in black and wearing a black mask and blue gloves, allegedly brought a package into the bank and told a teller, “I have a bomb here, give me some money.”
After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, Bayko left the package inside the bank and fled the scene in a white Dodge Ram pickup truck. The truck was last seen heading northbound up North End Boulevard toward Seabrook and Hampton.
As the state police bomb unit investigated the package, the bank and nearby businesses were evacuated. Police also closed off streets around Salisbury Square, causing significant traffic jams around the heavily traveled area during the height of the evening commute.
About 7:30 p.m., police reported the package was harmless and the square was reopened around 8 p.m. Aiding local police were units from Amesbury, Newburyport, Seabrook and the state police.
“This was a total team effort. Beginning with the initial response, we worked closely with our law enforcement partners in the neighboring towns and on the state and federal level to quickly bring this potentially dangerous situation to a safe conclusion,” Salisbury police Chief Thomas Fowler said.
For several hours Saturday, the parking lot next to the The Hungry Traveler was taped off and filled with local and state police cruisers, along with FBI officials. A restaurant employee said police wouldn’t let anyone into the restaurant until 11:30 a.m., forcing the business to open past its usual 11 a.m. starting time. Police remained on scene until roughly 3 p.m., according to the same employee.
While initial reports had Bayko driving toward New Hampshire, it appears he returned to his residence later that night, as at least one witness said they saw him inside the restaurant and later watching the Boston Bruins playoff game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bayko’s decision to double back and return home hours after allegedly robbing the bank did catch some, including Fowler, by surprise.
“It’s odd that he came back so soon, maybe thinking he could hide in plain sight,” Fowler said.