William Sequeira claims to have robbed 150 banks and inspired the character Ben Affleck portrayed in the heist movie, “The Town.” But when he walked into the Citizens Bank in the Back Bay Wednesday afternoon, things didn’t go as planned.
FBI agents who were watching the bank from a distance saw the infamous robber approaching and told a detective inside Sequeira was heading his way. The detective, Richard Porro, went into the office beside the teller’s desk, left the door slightly ajar, and watched Sequeira tell the teller to “give me hundreds,” according to a police report.
Porro, who was part of an FBI task force, stepped out and arrested Sequeira, 59, who authorities had identified as a person of interest in several other bank robberies.
In Boston Municipal Court on Thursday, Sequeira was charged with the Sept. 27 armed robbery of Santander Bank on Berkeley Street in Boston, the armed robbery of the M&T Bank on Boylston Street the next day, and Wednesday’s attempted robbery. He pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $50,000.
According to court records, press coverage, and Sequeira’s accounts of his life he provided Caught in Providence in 2021, a jail sentence would be nothing new.
In 1989, he pleaded guilty in US District Court in Boston to robbing 12 banks between May and July 1989 and was sentenced to nine years in federal prison.
Free for about six months in 1997, Sequeira and a pair of brothers were intercepted by police after robbing a bank in Cranston, R.I. The trio led police on a 35-mile chase along Interstate 95 that left three police cars damaged and forced other drivers off the highway, the Providence Journal reported.
In 1998, he pleaded guilty to the Cranston crime and was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison. Sequeira might still be behind bars if not for a 2016 Supreme Court ruling that removed some crimes from the list of violent offenses judges could take into account during sentencing, records show.
He was released in 2018, records show. During an appearance before a judge in 2020, he said he was working for a fruit delivery company.
On Sept. 27, police arrived at the Santander Bank for a report of a robbery of $500, according to police reports. Sequeira, identified as a heavyset man in his 50s wearing a black sweatshirt, blue jeans, red baseball hat, and a blue and white surgical mask, allegedly ran to the counter and said, “Give me a $100 bill or I’ll shoot you,” according to a report.
The teller handed over $580 and Sequeira left the $80 stack that contained a GPS tracker before pocketing the $500 and running out the door, the report said.
The next day, police arrived at the M&T Bank around 2 p.m. for another robbery. This time, Sequeira allegedly told the teller, “I’m going to put a gun to your head if you don’t give me the $100 bills,” according to the report.
The teller handed Sequeira $253 in one-dollar bills, $135 in mutilated bills, and a “bait pack” of $20 which included a GPS, the report said. Sequeira dropped the stack with the GPS on the ground before walking out.
Sequeira claimed he was so successful at robbing banks he spent thousands of dollars in a day. According to police, his take from two robberies in Boston was $888.
After his arrest on Wednesday, when Boston police showed him a surveillance photo taken of the M&T bank thief, Sequeira didn’t dispute the connection.
“Yah, that’s me,” he allegedly said.
Jeremiah Manion of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.