-By John Lynds
An East Boston man was charged last week in federal court with two counts of armed bank robbery and two counts of attempted armed bank robbery after he allegedly used fake pipe bombs to stick up three local banks.
William DeVincenzi, 47, of Saratoga Street, East Boston was charged in an four count indictment with the March 3 armed robbery of the East Boston Savings Bank in Everett; the March 4 armed bank robbery of the Bank of America in Winthrop and the March 8 and March 9 attempted armed bank robbery of the Bank of America on Canal Street in Boston.
A second Eastie man was also charged in the indictment with two counts of attempted armed bank robbery.
Co-defendant, Theodore Sawtelle, 33 of East Boston was also charged in the indictment with the March 8 and March 9 attempted armed robbery of the Bank of America on Canal Street in Boston.
The indictment alleges that on March 3, an individual, later determined to be DeVincenzi, entered the East Boston Savings Bank on Revere Beach Parkway in Everett. It is alleged that, once inside DeVincenzi, passed the teller a note indicating a robbery and placed a pipe bomb on her counter. The teller allegedly handed DeVincenzi cash from her drawer, which included a red-dye pack. It is alleged that DeVincenzi then fled in an unknown direction leaving the pipe bomb behind.
According to the indictment, police and federal agents responded to the scene, evacuating the bank and businesses in the surrounding neighborhood and the Revere Beach Parkway was shut down for a short period of time until the pipe bomb was recovered. The pipe bomb was later determined to be rendered inert. It is alleged that a post-robbery audit revealed that $1,900 in US currency was taken during the robbery. A few days following the robbery, the envelope used in the robbery was discovered in Everett containing the red-dye stained money.
Then, on March 4, an individual, later alleged to be DeVincenzi, entered the Bank of America in Winthrop, when he handed a demand note to the teller indicating it was a robbery, and placed a pipe bomb on the counter. The teller allegedly gave DeVincenzi the money from her drawer, at which time he fled the scene, taking with him the pipe bomb. According to the indictment, a post robbery audit determined that $3483 in US currency was taken during the robbery.
Following the March 3 and March 4 robberies local media published bank surveillance photos of the individual involved in the robberies. After receiving various tips, agents began surveillance on DeVincenzi.
On March 8, DeVincenzi and another individual later alleged to be Sawtelle, were observed approaching the Bank of America on Canal Street in Boston. According to the indictment, DeVincenzi was observed changing into a blue N.Y. Yankees windbreaker and donning a pair of sunglasses and hat, and placing a pipe bomb into an green accordion style folder as they approached Canal Street bank. Prior to entering the Bank of America the pair abruptly turned around and left the area and surveillance teams lost them as they entered the Haymarket T station.
The following morning, according to prosecutors, surveillance teams located DeVincenzi and Sawtelle as they approached the Bank of America on Canal Street, and again, observed DeVincenzi changing into the N.Y. Yankees windbreaker, sunglasses and hat, and carrying the same accordion-style folder as they approached Canal Street. The pair were arrested and it was determined that, in the green accordion -style folder, was a six inch piece of pipe with an electronic mechanism. The device was determined to be rendered inert.
If convicted on these charges, DeVincenzi and Sawtelle each face up to 25 years imprisonment on each count to be followed by five years of supervised release and restitution in the amount of $5,743.