U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
November 19, 2009
Guilty pleas in Providence, Newport bank robberies
Dennis Tasker, 38, of Providence, pleaded guilty today to robbing tellers at banks in Providence and Newport in July by using threatening notes. Quickly identified as a suspect, Tasker was arrested in Boston three days after the second robbery while allegedly trying to break into cars.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the guilty pleas, which Tasker entered before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith in U.S. District Court, Providence.
At the plea hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan said the government could prove that, on July 7, Tasker entered the Sovereign Bank on Thayer Street in Providence and handed a teller a note claiming he had a gun and demanding money. The teller gave him about $763 dollars and he fled on foot. No weapon was displayed or seen during the robbery.
Providence Police officer Theodore Michael recognized Tasker in bank surveillance pictures, having transported him between the ACI and court when Michael was a deputy sheriff in Newport County. The bank teller who had been robbed identified Tasker from a photo array as the robber.
On July 8, Tasker entered the Sovereign Bank on Thames Street in Newport and handed a teller a note demanding money. The teller gave him approximately $7,900 and he fled. Tasker quickly became a suspect in that robbery also, and Newport Police detectives identified fingerprints lifted from the note as Tasker’s.
On July 11, MBTA police in Boston arrested Tasker after he had allegedly tried to break into about 15 cars. At the time of his arrest, he was wearing only a towel around his waist and a jacket. He gave two false names but police identified him as Tasker, and Providence Police went to Boston to interview him. He admitted to both bank robberies.
Tasker pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery. He is detained in federal custody pending sentencing, which is scheduled for April 16. The maximum penalty for bank robbery is 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Providence Police, and Newport Police investigated the case.