Meetinghouse Bank robbed, suspect in custody

The robbery suspect, shortly after being apprehended. Photo by Ed Forry

Boston Police arrested a suspect in a brazen early afternoon bank robbery in Dorchester Lower Mills today, and he was arrested with the help of a fleet-footed bank executive.

A lone robber demanded cash from a teller at Meetinghouse Bank shortly before 2 p.m. today, and when he fled on foot with cash in hand, he was pursued by bank president Tony Paciulli.

“I heard the teller scream and I came out of my office and saw him going out the door,” Paciulli said. He followed the man down Richmond Street, and caught up with him a block away at the corner of Butler Street.

“I tried to tackle him to the ground, but he was too big,” Paciulli said, describing the suspect as weighing more than 300 pounds. “We took a couple of shots (punches) at each other, but when I saw him reaching into his pants, I backed off, in case he had a knife or a gun.” Paciulli said the suspect tried to give back some of the money, but it fell to the street. He said he continued to follow the man, who turned into Swan Court, a dead-end private way a half block away. “The guy tried to jump the fence at the end of Swan Court, but he was too big and heavy to get over it,” Paciulli said.

A massive show of police force arrived moments later, fanning out into back yards and looking for any sign of housebreaks. A Boston Police K-9 dog was brought in, and the suspect was found hiding behind a house on the private way.

“Police were everywhere,” said Nicole Manny Mareira, a Richmond Street resident who joined other neighbors who came out on the street to see what was going on. The neighbors initially feared that the suspect had broken into the six-family house on Swan Court, and were fearful for the residents. “My friend Mary lives there with three little boys!,” Manny Mareira said. “No one was home, thank God.”

Later, Police recovered a small wad of cash on the roadway on Richmond Street. The money was held as evidence in the case.

No further information was immediately available.

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