Since April 15, there have been five bank robberies in Abington and Brockton, two in Quincy and one in Milton. Authorities say the robberies may be tied to cash-strapped drug addicts.
A sudden spike in bank robberies in the area may be tied to cash-strapped drug addicts desperate to find money after losing their jobs, authorities say.
“Some of these people may have had jobs to support their habits, and now they don’t,” Abington Detective Sgt. Richard Gambino said.
Since April 15, there have been five bank robberies in Abington and Brockton, and at least two may be the work of the same person.
In two heists – one in Brockton last Friday and the second in Abington on Tuesday – the robber took off on a bike. Outside the Brockton area there were three more robberies: one in Quincy on Monday; another in Milton the next day and a third holdup in Quincy on Thursday.
“The robberies have always come in waves, but this is an epidemic now,” Gambino said.
Brockton Detective Sgt. Michael Dennehy said investigators are examining surveillance images and tracking down leads, trying to identify suspects. Authorities also want to know if the heists are the work of one person – or a group working together.
“We are looking at that to see if they are related. Sometimes you can’t tell right away when their faces are covered,” Dennehy said.
In nearly every bank robbery, the suspect simply hands the teller a note demanding money. Sometimes the suspect claims to have a weapon, sometimes not. Rarely is a weapon shown in cases locally.
Drug addiction has historically spurred most bank robberies in the region.
“A lot of times, when we do catch these guys, a lot of them do have drug problems,” Dennehy said. “They are supporting a drug habit more often than not.”
Gambino said that – coupled with a sudden loss of money – is likely behind the latest surge.
“The downturn in the economy may also be a contributing factor,” Gambino said. “People that had that extra money or jobs to support their habits may now be out of work.”
Detectives posted surveillance photos of the robbers on the Web site, www.massmostwanted.org, hoping someone would recognized the suspects.
“We have some decent photos up there,” Gambino said. “Hopefully someone knows who they are.”
Maureen Boyle can be reached at email@example.com.