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June 23, 2010

BOSTON, Mass. - A Norwood man, dubbed the U-30 Bandit, was convicted late yesterday in federal court of three counts of armed bank robbery.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and James C. Burrell, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office, announced that MICHAEL COTY, 45, of Norwood, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to three counts of armed bank robbery.

At the plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that during the Spring of 2009, towns in Norfolk County were besieged by a series of armed bank robberies. During these robberies, a masked robber would enter the bank armed with a device resembling a bomb and an automatic handgun.
The masked robber would place the “bomb device” on the teller’s counter, brandish a handgun and proceed to rob the bank. During these robberies the tellers all noted a voice coming over a small handheld radio the robber was wearing, that counted backwards from the number 30. Thus, the individuals in these robberies were dubbed the U-30 bandits by the FBI.

Through intelligence gathered by law enforcement, surveillance was established in July 2009, during which time officers and observed COTY and another known individual driving in a silver Volkswagon in and around the Dedham/Needham area. The silver Volkswagon, being driven by COTY, was believed to have been the get-away car in a number of these previous robberies. On July 1, 2009, officers observed a silver Volkswagon parked in front of the Sovereign Bank in Needham, and the passenger exited the vehicle and entered the bank. Once inside the bank the individual brandished what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun (in fact it was a bb gun), going from teller to teller ordering them to empty their cash drawers, and place the money into a nylon bag. Upon exiting the bank, the robber who was carrying the black BB gun, the nylon bag containing the bank money and a small hand held radio, was arrested by police.

COTY, the getaway driver, immediately left the area in the silver Volkswagon, and was later arrested in the basement of a Newton home. He was found in possession of a handheld radio, similar to the one taken from the suspect exiting the bank, stolen license plates and a Red Sox baseball hat. The two radios were keyed and transmitting on the same frequency. Once in police custody, COTY provided details of his, and his co-defendants, involvement in two other robberies: the robbery of Bank of America in Wellesley on April 24, 2009, and the robbery of Sharon Credit Union in East Walpole on June 16, 2009.

Judge Woodlock scheduled sentencing for September 13. COTY faces up to 25 years imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release and a $ 250,000 fine on each count of the information.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Norfolk County Police Anti-Crime Unit. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth G. Shine of Ortiz’s Major Crime Unit.


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