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2 arrested in connection with robbery of Chelmsford grocery store

Two men were arrested by Chelmsford police last week in connection with an armed robbery at a grocery store in that town, officials said.

Stephen Callahan, 55, and Stephen DeLong, 53, both of Lawrence, are accused of robbing a Citizens Bank branch located inside the Stop & Shop grocery store on Chelmsford Street on July 15, according to a police statement. Police said that Callahan robbed the bank, while DeLong acted as the getaway driver.

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Witnesses said a man matching Callahan’s description jumped over the bank’s counter, displayed a black folding knife, and began emptying the bank’s drawers into a plastic bag.

He allegedly demanded that the bank employees open more drawers. When the employees said they were unable to open them, the man fled.

Witnesses reportedly saw the suspect run through a patch of woods toward the Chelmsford Mall, then get into the passenger seat of a red pickup truck. Witnesses gave police the truck’s license plate number, which police traced to DeLong’s girlfriend, a Billerica woman.

Police said they found a clear plastic bag lying in the middle of the parking lot. The bag contained money covered in red dye, from an exploding dye pack used by bank employees to thwart robbers, officials said.

As the Chelmsford robbery was being investigated, police there were contacted by Lawrence police about a robbery at a Santander branch in Lawrence on July 17.

Callahan was arrested at that scene and was wearing the same clothes as those described in the Chelmsford robbery.

DeLong faces charges of armed robbery as a joint venture and misleading a police investigation in the Chelmsford bank heist. DeLong was to be arraigned Monday in Lowell District Court.

Callahan faces an armed robbery charge in Chelmsford. He has also been charged with two counts of armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a Class A drug in Lawrence in the alleged bank robbery in that city.

Callahan was arraigned in Lawrence District Court Friday and is scheduled to return to court there this Friday.

Callahan’s plea was not immediately available. He will be arraigned in Lowell District Court at a later date, police said in the statement.

Kiera Blessing can be reached at kiera.blessing@globe.com.
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