FBI Nabs Suspect in String of Connecticut Bank Robberies

The FBI has been searching for a man who has robbed at least six banks in several central Connecticut towns this summer and authorities have arrested a 31-year-old Middletown man on federal charges.

Matthew Dragone, a 31-year-old man living in a home for recovering substance abusers, is suspected of robbing banks in Berlin, Cheshire, Deep River, Durham, Killingworth, Rocky Hill and Wethersfield, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

He was arrested after several people identified him as a suspect.

During the robbery at Liberty Bank, at 357 Main Street in Durham, on Sept. 3, he was dressed in dark sunglasses, a blue-striped long-sleeve dress shirt and a white baseball cap with a “Coors Lite” logo, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Dragone held a cellphone to his ear when he approached the teller at the counter and handed over a bank bag with a note attached to the front that demanded money and ordered the bank employee not to include a dye pack or GPS, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The teller placed around $1,490 in cash in the bag and handed it to Dragone, who drove off with the cash, federal officials said.

Investigators who responded to the scene found a "Coors Lite" baseball cap and a blue-striped shirt on the side of the road about 50 yards from the bank and laboratory DNA analysis eventually led investigators to identify Dragone as the suspect.

Dragone is also suspected of robbing the Webster Bank, at 145 Highland Avenue in Cheshire, on Aug. 12; the TD Bank at 1127 Farmington Avenue in Berlin, on Aug. 13; the Liberty Bank, at 151 Main Street in Deep River; on Aug. 17; the TD Bank, at 25 Wells Road in Wethersfield, on Aug.31; the Webster Bank; the TD Bank, at 184 Clinton Road in Killingworth on Sept. 11; and the attempted robbery at 377 Cromwell Avenue in Rocky Hill, on Sept. 9.

During the robbery at Webster Bank in Cheshire on Aug. 12, the robber handed the teller a note that said "(G)ive me all your money quickly, no dye packs or you'll regret it," according to the criminal complaint. The teller handed over $73 during that robbery.

During the robbery on Aug. 13, the robber held a cell phone to his ear and handed over a note that read "(A)ct normal and don't move fast, put all the 20's, 50's, 100's (sic) in this envelope and do no dye packs or GPS." The teller handed over $2,200 in that robbery.

The man who robbed the Liberty Bank on Deep River on Aug. 17 was also holding a cell phone against his ear and handed over a note in purple ink that said," I want 20's, 50's (sic) and hundreds, no dye pack s, you have 15 seconds," the complaint says. The teller handed over $2,320 during that robbery.

During the Aug. 31 robbery at TD bank in Wethersfield, the robber also used a note. It said, "Fill this bag with money," and the robbery stole $500 before leaving in a green Honda Civic with heavy front-end damage, passenger side damage and a loud exhaust.

A note was also used in the robbery at Liberty Bank in Durham on Sept. 3.

"(R)emain calm (sic) place 10's, 20's. 50's, 100's (sic) in bag, no dye packs, no GPS, I will check," he wrote, according to the complaint. The robber left with $14,900 in a getaway car described also a greenish Honda Civic.

When the man robbed the Webster Bank in Cromwell on Sept. 9, he handed over a note with identical writing, according to the complaint.

Officials said they found the clothing and sunglasses matching those worn during the Durham robbery and a bank-style bag consistent with the one used during several of the bank robberies in Dragone’s home during a search on Sept. 16.

Police said they are continuing to investigate.

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