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Athol man gets 43-month prison term for bank robbery spree in New England

By Globe Staff 

A federal judge in New Hampshire on Thursday handed down a 43-month prison sentence to an Athol man who robbed three banks in eight days last year in that state, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, prosecutors said.

Judge Landya B. McCafferty sentenced Vincent M. Torraco during a hearing in US District Court in Concord, N.H., records show. Torraco had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of bank robbery in the same courthouse, according to Acting US Attorney John J. Farley’s office.

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The office said the robberies occurred at TD Bank branches in Gardner, Mass. on Sept. 16, 2016, Rindge, N.H. seven days later, and Winchester, Conn. the following day.

Torraco’s luck ran out on Sept. 27 of last year in Huntersville, N.C., where he was nabbed by law enforcement personnel, according to the release.

Prosecutors said Torraco passed a note demanding money during each robbery and warned tellers on at least two occasions not to include dye packs with the cash, a frequent demand of criminals who target financial institutions. Dye packs can explode on robbers when they make their escape, all but assuring that officers canvassing the area will peg them as the suspects.

“Bank robberies are inherently violent offenses that can jeopardize the lives of bank employees and customers,” Farley said in a statement. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working with all of our law enforcement partners to combat violent crime and to improve the safety of our communities.”

His words were echoed by Hank H. Shaw, the FBI special agent in charge of the bureau’s Boston Division, which also covers New Hampshire.

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“Mr. Torraco not only took money from a federally insured bank, he also intimidated the tellers, and wasted taxpayer resources by requiring law enforcement officers to search for him,” Shaw said in the same release. “This sentence imposed on the defendant reflects the serious nature of bank robbery. The FBI is proud of the relationship with its law enforcement partners and working together, we are able to make our community a safer place.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.