Woman wrests 12-inch knife from robber at Lawrence bank branch

A woman being threatened with a knife was able to grab the weapon away from the man attempting to rob her at a Lawrence bank branch Thursday, police said.

Steven Callahan, 55, of Lawrence, entered Santander Bank at 296 Essex St. shortly before noon and attacked the woman, a customer, said Sergeant John Dushame of the Lawrence police.

The woman pried the double-edged, 12-inch knife from Callahan and threw it over the teller window, Dushame said. She was not injured.


Callahan then proceeded to take money from a teller, police said. A bank employee intervened, causing Callahan to fall to the ground and cut his forehead, police said.

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Callahan fled the scene, but Officer Jeffrey Sapienza, who recognized Callahan from a previous encounter, arrested him on Essex Street with fellow officers, according to police said, who added Callahan was found with four bags of heroin.

Callahan was arraigned in Lawrence District Court Friday. He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.

Callahan was charged with two counts of armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of heroin.

Trisha Thadani can be reached at or on Twitter @TrishaThadani.