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Press Release

Chelsea Man Indicted for Multiple Bank Robberies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Chelsea man, dubbed the “Spelling Bee Bandit,” was indicted yesterday 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. In December 2016, Englen was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint.


According to court documents, on Oct. 31, 2016, a man entered a branch of TD Bank in Arlington, approached a teller and presented a deposit slip with the word “ROBERY” written on it. The teller handed the man money from the drawer, and the man then fled the bank. 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.


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 on Dec. 12, 2016.


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.


Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; 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 Weinreb’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 20, 2017

Violent Crime