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Police work catches career bank robber who collected nearly $520,000

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT : A paroled bank robber believed responsible for stealing $510,300 from a North Arlington bank with a .357 Magnum also made off with few thousand from two Hudson County branches — one of which he tried hitting a second time less than a week later — while wearing disguises, federal authorities said.

Surveillance photo from the holdup

North Arlington Police Chief Louis Ghione told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that the difference was made by the “tenacious insistence” of Det. Lt. Gouveia of the Kearny Police Department and Det. Sgt. Kearns of his own force, who arrested Robert K. Martin, 39, of Johnson Avenue in Kearny last week.

Federal authorities said Martin was on supervised federal release for robbing seven banks when he bust into the Sovereign Bank in North Arlington on May 11, wearing a wig, a fake beard and a white baseball cap, pointing a cannon of a gun that could have done terrible damage.

He took off with a green garment bag full of money in a black, two-door SUV that he had parked near the Passaic River — coincidentally next to Lucky Seven, a convenience shop where shots were fired during a holdup just a few months ago.

Witneses told police the robber walked around to the River Road bank wearing a wig, a fake beard and a white baseball cap and left carrying a green bag stuffed with a half-million dollars.

Federal authorities today said Martin also robbed the TD Bank at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Weehawken of $1,150 on April 13, and got $2,150 from an Oritani Savings branch on Summit Avenue in Union City on April 30. Martin was wearing surgical gloves, a black jacket, a baseball cap, glasses and a single headphone in his ear, the FBI said today.

He tried hitting the same bank again on May 4, but fled empty-handed, they said.

The SUV, which had been reported stolen on May 7, was found burning in a remote area of Kearny on May 12, the FBI said. A late-model, four-door burgundy sedan with a damaged window and missing hubcap that also had been reported stolen was identified by witnesses during at least one of the Hudson holdups, they said.

Ghione’s detectives and their Kearny counterparts discovered that the SUV’s plate had been noted by a patrol officer outside what turned out to be Martin’s residence. Surveillance video of the area showed his comings and goings in the vehicles fitting perfectly with the timing of the holdups, the FBI said.

Directly from the complaint prepared by FBI Special Agent Joseph M. McShane:

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