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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Monday, December 12, 2016

Chelsea Man Arrested for Multiple Bank Robberies

BOSTON – A Chelsea man, dubbed the “Spelling Bee Bandit,” was arrested and charged today in connection with four bank robberies in the Greater Boston area.

Jason S. Englen, 34, was charged with the robberies of: TD Bank in Arlington on Oct. 31, 2016; TD Bank in Reading on Nov. 5, 2016; Salem Five in Burlington on Nov. 7, 2016; and TD Bank in Peabody on Nov. 13, 2016.  A probable cause and detention before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler will continue tomorrow.

According to court documents, on Oct. 31, 2016, a man entered a branch of TD Bank in Arlington, approached a teller and presented a note written on a deposit slip with the word “ROBERY” written on it.  The teller handed the man money from the drawer and he fled the bank.  Following the robbery, the man’s image was circulated on public websites seeking information about his identity.  Nearly identical incidents occurred on Nov. 5th at a branch of TD Bank in Reading, on Nov. 7th at a branch of Salem Five in Burlington, and on Nov. 13th at a branch of TD Bank in Peabody.  During each robbery, the man handed the teller a note with the word “ROBERY” or “ROBERT” demanding cash.  During the last robbery, the man told the teller he wanted $20 and $50 dollar bills.  Following each robbery, the man’s image was circulated on public websites seeking information about his identity.  

Based on the similarity of the robberies and the physical description of the robber provided by the bank tellers, a bulletin was circulated seeking the public’s help in identifying the perpetrator.  As a result, law enforcement received information that the individual involved in the robberies was Englen.  Englen, who was already in state custody on unrelated charges, was arrested by federal authorities today.

The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 and restitution.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge bases upon the US Sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins; Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan; Reading Police Chief Mark D. Segalla; Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent; and Peabody Police Chief Thomas Griffin, made the announcement today.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth G. Shine of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Updated December 12, 2016