Alleged Bank Robber Detained
Joseph Lavoie allegedly assaulted teller, set fire to the bank during the robbery
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Joseph W. Lavoie, 49, of Providence, was ordered detained in federal custody today on federal bank robbery and arson charges. It is alleged that on Wednesday Lavoie robbed and set fire to a North Providence branch office of Citizens Bank.
Lavoie is charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with one count each of bank robbery and use of fire to commit a federal felony.
Lavoie’s arrest and detention are announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Acting North Providence Police Chief Christopher J. Pelagio, and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.
According to court documents, it is alleged that shortly before 10:00 AM on Wednesday, Lavoie telephoned the FBI and threatened to rob and burn down a bank. Lavoie allegedly made the call while at the North Providence branch office of Citizens Bank. While speaking with an FBI agent on the telephone, Lavoie was heard asking someone for the address of the bank, which he then relayed to the FBI agent. Lavoie made the call moments before he allegedly jumped over the counter and announced to a teller, “This is a robbery.” It is alleged that Lavoie opened the cash drawer and began removing cash which he then stuffed inside his sweatshirt. It is alleged that during the robbery, Lavoie grabbed, assaulted and threatened a female teller, and then ignited several items inside the bank.
North Providence Police Department patrol units were dispatched to the bank while the robbery was in progress. First responders observed multiple individuals exiting the bank as black smoke filled the interior of the building. Officers entered the bank where they encountered and detained Lavoie who was located standing behind the teller counter.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan.
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
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