‘Incognito Bandit’ linked to 16 Mass. bank robberies pleads guilty to one
A Brighton man dubbed the “Incognito Bandit” by authorities for his efforts to evade detection during 16 alleged bank robberies admitted Friday to holding up one Arlington bank in 2015 and making off with more than $11,000, records show.
Albert Taderera, 37, pleaded guilty in US District Court in Boston to one count of armed bank robbery for the October 2015 job at Winchester Savings Bank on Medford Street in Arlington, according to legal filings. Court records show he left the bank with roughly $11,561.
Under terms of his plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop a second armed robbery charge stemming from the October 2016 heist of a TD Bank branch in Wayland, in which he allegedly snagged just over $8,100, records show.
Taderera faces up to 25 years behind bars, but the feds will recommend a prison term of two to three years, plus three years of supervised release, restitution of $11,561, and a separate $100 assessment to the court, according to a plea agreement.
He was arrested in March 2017 at Dulles International Airport in Virginia as he attempted to board an international flight, according to the Justice Department.
At the time of his arrest, federal prosecutors in Massachusetts said Taderera was linked to 16 bank robberies that occurred between February 2015 and March 2017; each time the robber donned dark clothing, covered his face, and usually brandished what appeared to be a black semi-automatic hand gun.
In a February 2018 court filing, Assistant US Attorney Kenneth G. Shine wrote that based “on the physical locations of the banks, the victim tellers’ physical descriptions of the robber, and the similar manner and method of each robbery, the FBI opined that the same individual, Albert Taderera (‘Taderera’) was responsible for these robberies. Additionally, the FBI believed that the robber utilized a black BMW sedan during the commission of these robberies.”
Taderera was sitting in a black BMW outside a Concord bank in March 2017 when local police spotted the vehicle and towed it away because of an expired registration, officials have said. He was nabbed about a week later at the airport.
The string of robberies attributed to the Incognito Bandit paused only when Taderera, a citizen of Zimbabwe, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2016, according to court filings in his divorce and child custody case. After Taderera was released, the robberies resumed.
Taderera became a lawful permanent resident of the US in 2016 and was twice married and divorced in Massachusetts, court records show. He pleaded guilty to a 2011 assault of his second wife.
The following year, Taderera wrote of financial troubles in an affidavit seeking to alter the terms of his probation.
“I am homeless in Massachusetts and don’t have any income,” Taderera wrote in the 2012 filing. “I have been couch-surfing with friends for the last two weeks.”
His federal public defender in the current robbery case, W. Jamiel Allen, requested in January that Taderera be released under “home incarceration conditions” while the case was pending, describing him as a “non-violent, legal permanent resident, residing in Massachusetts since 2004.”
Allen wrote that Taderera had been headed to Zimbabwe at the time of his arrest.
“Mr. Taderera’s non-violent character, lack of any substantial criminal history, pristine record of prior [court] appearances, permanent resident status, and personal interest in his children and local probate matters, all weigh in favor of release,” Allen wrote. “Mr. Taderera fought to remain in this country and contribute to raising his children.”
Allen conceded that prosecutors “may argue that the last-minute booking of his flight to Harare, Zimbabwe is evidence of intent to flee. Yet Mr. Taderera was under no obligation to remain here at that time. ... His independent reason for traveling to Harare, as well as the round-trip nature of his travel, counsel in favor of not viewing the planned trip as indicating that Mr. Taderera would defy a court order and attempt to flee now.”
But Shine, the prosecutor, had countered in opposition that Taderera “has not provided this Court with any facts or circumstances that would warrant” his release. Shine wrote that Taderera was boarding a flight to South Africa when he was apprehended.
“At the time of Taderera’s arrest, he was in possession of five suitcases, two backpacks, and a fifty-gallon plastic utility tub,” Shine wrote in a legal filing. “The suitcases, backpacks and the utility tub all contained clothing, jewelry, photographs, and other personal items. On his person, Taderera had $1.25 in US currency and approximately $24.00 in Zimbabwe currency.”
Taderera was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond last April and ordered to stay at a Boston halfway house, records show. He remains free pending sentencing on April 2. He could not be reached for comment.