Man arrested in Del. suspected in 14 bank robberies in 3 states Harford County resident identified after police trace fingerprints on note

September 09, 1998|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

A man accused of bank robbery will be returning to Maryland to face charges that he held up 14 banks in Maryland and two other states, authorities said yesterday.

Bradford Primeaux Jr., 29, of Aberdeen was arrested Sunday in Rehoboth Beach, Del., after investigators traced fingerprints on a threatening note that police believe was passed to a teller at a bank recently robbed in Ocean City, said Sgt. Jay Hancock, an Ocean City police spokesman.

The note was found by a groundskeeper outside an Ocean City condominium complex last week, several blocks from where a robber held up the Bank of Ocean City, Hancock said.

The groundskeeper "found it blowing in the wind in the parking lot," Hancock said.

"He wasn't sure what it was, but he gave it to the condo manager, who called the police," Hancock said.

Maryland State Police lifted fingerprints from the note, which was a demand for money, and ran them through the Maryland Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

The system is a database of prints collected from people arrested and from unsolved crimes.

Primeaux had prints in the computer because he had been arrested previously on charges of assault, theft, robbery, forgery and credit card fraud, court records show.

Ocean City police charged Primeaux with robbery, authorities said.

Ocean City police had been working with the FBI to find the "baseball cap" robber, so-called because he wore baseball caps in each of the holdups in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Among the insignia on his caps were the Cleveland Browns, Chevrolet Racing, and Bass Pro Shop Fishing, said Peter A. Gulotta Jr., an FBI spokesman.

The robberies began March 11 in Elkton, then continued through the summer, Gulotta said.

Banks were robbed in Phoenix; Havre de Grace; Cockeysville; Peach Bottom, Pa.; Rio Grande, N.J.; Rehoboth Beach; and Ocean City, Gulotta said.

Police and FBI investigators routinely do not release the amounts that are obtained by bank robbers in holdups.

But indictments filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore show that thieves, particularly those of the note-passing variety, rarely receive more than $2,000 in a robbery.

Hancock said the baseball cap robber was usually possessive of the threatening note that he passed to tellers demanding money.

In each case, the robber was careful not to leave the note, possibly because he realized it could provide an important clue if found.

The note in the Ocean City parking lot might have blown away accidentally, Hancock said.

Investigators searched Primeaux's apartment in Aberdeen over the weekend and seized a baseball cap, T-shirt, sneakers and sunglasses that might have been used in a recent robbery, Hancock said.

Primeaux was being held yesterday in Delaware on $500,000 bail.

Pub Date: 9/09/98

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