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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 2, 2016

Alleged Getaway Driver In Robbery Of Hawthorne, New Jersey, TD Bank Charged In Federal Court

NEWARK, N.J. – A Passaic County, New Jersey, man is scheduled to appear in federal court today in connection with the robbery of a TD Bank in Hawthorne, New Jersey, on Feb. 17, 2016, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Alejandro Ortiz, 20, of Haskell, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of bank robbery. He is expected to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III in Newark federal court.

Robert Somers 44, of Little Falls, New Jersey, is charged in the same complaint. He was arrested and appeared in court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre on Aug. 26, 2016. He remains in federal custody.

According to the complaint:

On Feb.17, 2016, the TD Bank was robbed by a man, later identified as Somers, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, hat with red stripe, dark pants, and gloves. Somers was also holding a newspaper, which covered the bottom portion of his face. After Somers entered the bank, he allegedly handed a teller a note that read, in sum and substance, “this is a hold up,” and made similar verbal statements.

The teller handed Somers cash. Somers demanded more money and a second teller handed him additional cash. Afterwards, Somers fled the bank in a car allegedly driven by Ortiz. Later that evening, Ortiz was pulled over by law enforcement and arrested. The clothes that Somers had worn during the robbery were recovered from Ortiz’s vehicle. 

The charge of bank robbery carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; the Hawthorne Police Department, under the direction of Chief Richard McAuliffe; the Pennsylvania State Police, under the direction of Colonel Tyree C. Blocker; and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes with the investigation leading to the charges.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen D. Stringer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

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Updated September 2, 2016