NEWARK – A Newark man made his initial court appearance Thursday in connection with his alleged role in eight bank robberies that took place between Nov. 20, 2012, and Sept. 11, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Andrew Thomas, 32, of Newark, is charged by complaint with eight counts of bank robbery. He allegedly robbed or attempted to rob banks in Clark, Cranford, Edison, Hillside, Iselin, Newark and Watchung.
His girlfriend, Jennifer Pinto, 32, also of Newark, is also charged with conspiring to commit two of the eight bank robberies. Both made their initial court appearances before U.S. Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Thomas is allegedly responsible for a bank robbery spree that spanned several months and four counties in New Jersey and which included seven bank robberies and one attempt. Pinto is charged in the same complaint with two counts of conspiracy to commit bank robbery in connection with two of the eight bank robberies for which Thomas is charged.
Thomas robbed or attempted to rob eight banks on eight separate dates between November 2012 and September 2013. Thomas robbed the following banks on the following dates:
- Wells Fargo Bank in Newark on Nov. 20, 2012
- Investors Savings Bank in Edison on Jan. 10
- Investors Savings Bank in Clark on May 3
- Garden State Community Bank in Iselin on May 30
- JP Morgan Chase Bank in Watchung on June 6
- Wells Fargo Bank in Newark on July 30
- Garden State Community Bank in Cranford on Aug. 10
- Lusitania Savings Bank in Hillside on Sept. 11
In several of the bank robberies, Thomas allegedly wore similar clothes and used similar tactics in robbing the bank. In all but two of the bank robberies, Thomas allegedly pointed what appeared to be either a silver or black handgun directly at the victim bank tellers and verbally demanded money. Thomas also wore either a black V-neck shirt or blue button down shirt in several of the robberies.
Pinto is charged with conspiring to commit the bank robberies in Watchung and Cranford on June 6 and Aug. 10, respectively. In each of those bank robberies, Pinto allegedly assisted Thomas by driving him to and from the bank robberies.
Each count of bank robbery with which Thomas is charged carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. He was detained.
Each count of conspiracy with which Pinto is charged carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. She was released on $100,000 bond.
Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford. He also thanked the Newark, Edison, Clark, Woodbridge, Watchung, Cranford, and Hillside police departments for their contributions to the case.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations; they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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