Sunday, January 22, 2006

Suspected Robber Leaves His Name, Address

A man who held up banks by claiming he had a bomb in a bag was arrested after police found the bag actually contained books, including a phone book that had a mailing label with the man's full name and address.

"It was clearly not his best move," Lawrence Police Chief John J. Romero said.

George Melendez was arrested Thursday at his home in Lowell and charged with the Jan. 6 robbery of a bank in Dracut. Police said he is also likely to face charges in bank robberies in Lawrence and Salem, N.H.

Investigators said Melendez would hand tellers a note claiming to have a bomb in his bag and demand large bills. As he left with the cash, he would leave behind the bag, prompting Dracut and Salem police to call in bomb squads as a precaution.

In each case, the satchel-type bags contained tangled wires and books.

After he allegedly hit a Sovereign Bank in Lawrence last week, police found a Lowell-area phone book in the bag the robber had left behind. They went to the address listed on the label and arrested Melendez, who also fit the bank tellers' description of the robber.

"It was so easy, so simple, it was hard to believe," Romero told The Eagle-Tribune.

Melendez was arraigned Friday at Saints Memorial Medical Center in Lowell, where he was taken after complaining of chest pains. He was held on $10,000 cash bail and is scheduled to appear in Lowell District Court on Feb. 16 for a probable cause hearing.



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