Elizabeth man charged with bank robbery

Israel Cosme

A Union County, New Jersey, man has been arrested and charged in connection with a bank robbery in Bergen County in January 2017 and the FBI believes he is responsible for robbing multiple banks around Baltimore, Maryland.

Israel Cosme, 36, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of bank robbery. He was originally arrested Jan. 24, 2017 in connection with two bank robberies he allegedly committed in Maryland. He appeared last week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court and was detained.

According to acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick, documents filed in this case and statements made in court, on Jan. 15, 2017, Cosme allegedly robbed a TD Bank in Little Ferry, New Jersey.

According to bank employees and video surveillance, a man wearing blue jeans, tan work boots, a gray hooded sweatshirt, and a knit cap entered the bank.

The robber approached one of the bank tellers and handed her a note demanding money.

The robber then told the bank teller that he was carrying a weapon in his pocket and that he would shoot her if she did not comply with his demands.

The robber, who was later identified as Cosme, then reached over the counter, grabbed the teller by the shirt, and forcibly grabbed money out of her hand. 

When law enforcement apprehended Cosme outside of a hotel room in Maryland and searched his hotel room pursuant to a search warrant, they recovered a pair of blue jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt that resembled the clothing he was wearing during the robbery.

The bank robbery charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation. He also thanked the Little Ferry Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ralph Verdi, for its assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Gould of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defense counsel: K. Anthony Thomas Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

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