Northeast Times

Alleged bank robber hops a bus after heist

Daniel Con­nelly

Po­lice caught the al­leged cul­prit in a very low-budget bank rob­bery last week by stop­ping his get­away vehicle — a SEPTA bus — and tak­ing him in­to cus­tody.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Daniel Con­nelly presen­ted a de­mand note to a tell­er at the Wells Fargo bank at 9101 Roosevelt Blvd. at 4:47 p.m. on June 24. He got $500, left the bank and caught a south­bound Route 1 bus.

His es­cape was only tem­por­ary, al­though his page in the an­nals of stu­pid crime is likely to be etern­al. Second Dis­trict of­ficers stopped the bus on the Boulevard’s 7300 block and took Con­nelly in­to cus­tody without any trouble, Of­fice Jill­ian Rus­sell, a po­lice de­part­ment spokes­wo­man, and. Lt. Den­nis Rosen­baum of North­east De­tect­ives said Con­nelly was armed only with a bus pass.

Con­nelly, of the 2200 block of Brill Street, was charged with rob­bery, theft and re­lated of­fenses, ac­cord­ing to the city’s on­line court re­cords. He’ll get a pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing in Ju­ly.

But, that’s not all.

By June 26, au­thor­it­ies had charged Con­nelly with four oth­er rob­ber­ies — two of which were com­mit­ted on the same day he al­legedly robbed Wells Fargo.

Capt. Frank Palumbo, the 2nd Po­lice Dis­trict’s com­mand­er, said a track­ing device was put in the cash handed over to the Wells Fargo rob­ber. The com­pany that main­tains the device was con­tac­ted by po­lice, and up­dates on its po­s­i­tion were broad­cast over po­lice ra­dio.

Upon learn­ing the track­er was headed south­bound on the Boulevard, po­lice stopped traffic on the 12-lane road­way, Rosen­baum said, but the track­ing device kept mov­ing.

“The only thing we had let through was a bus,” Rosen­baum said.

Second Dis­trict Of­ficers Thomas Far­rell and Robert Gill stopped the bus at Cottman and the Boulevard and put Con­nelly un­der ar­rest, Palumbo said. Con­nelly’s es­cape had las­ted only about 10 to 15 minutes, the cap­tain ad­ded.

The 28-year-old Con­nelly has an adult crim­in­al re­cord that dates back to 2007. He was con­victed of rob­bery in 2008 and pleaded guilty to burg­lary in 2011. Rosen­baum said he thinks Con­nelly had been con­victed for rob­bing some Wawa stores.

He’s now ac­cused of rob­bing an­oth­er one on June 24, the same day he al­legedly robbed Wells Fargo on the Boulevard and the Viriva Cred­it Uni­on on the 7300 block of Frank­ford Ave, ac­cord­ing to a Po­lice De­part­ment news re­lease. Rosen­baum said Con­nelly hit the cred­it uni­on just be­fore noon and the con­veni­ence store shortly after 1 p.m.

Con­nelly also al­legedly robbed the 3rd Fed Bank on the 2600 block of Or­tho­dox Street on June 14 and the Re­pub­lic Bank on the 7300 block of Cottman Av­en­ue on June 19.

The lieu­ten­ant said sur­veil­lance foot­age linked Con­nelly to the crimes com­mit­ted be­fore the Wells Fargo rob­bery.

Rosen­baum said po­lice fig­ure Con­nelly rode pub­lic trans­port­a­tion to and from his crimes. “He doesn’t have a car,” the lieu­ten­ant said.

Us­ing a SEPTA vehicle to es­cape from a crime scene has happened on oc­ca­sion, said An­drew Busch, a trans­it agency spokes­man, but it is by no means any­thing but a rare oc­cur­rence.

“Every once in a while, someone will get on a SEPTA vehicle fol­low­ing a crime off of SEPTA prop­erty,” Busch said in a June 25 email to the North­east Times.

Rosen­baum said it isn’t even that un­usu­al in his ex­per­i­ence. Crim­in­als who don’t have cars will jump on buses on sub­ways to try to get away from crime scenes.

Busch said SEPTA’s po­lice work closely with the city’s de­part­ment dur­ing such situ­ations.

“Our sur­veil­lance cam­er­as are also of great as­sist­ance in in­cid­ents like this, both in terms of try­ing to find or identi­fy a per­son, and, as pos­sible evid­ence in the pro­sec­u­tion of the case,” he stated.

Giv­en that there about a mil­lion pas­sen­ger trips on SEPTA every day, the num­ber of riders who may see something like the ar­rest of a bank rob­bery sus­pect is very small, Busch said.

In the case of the al­leged bank rob­ber, Busch said, there were 15 oth­er pas­sen­gers on the bus he caught. They were trans­ferred to oth­er vehicles after that bus was stopped.

The bus was held as a crime scene for about an hour, Busch said. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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