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A wet wipe proved a Concord bank robber's undoing, feds say

Veteran bank robber Angel Robles didn't have much time to live it up with the $383.97 he made off with from a Concord bank last November because investigators were able to lift at least one of his fingerprints from the wipe he held during the robbery and then dropped before he ran out of the bank and back to the stolen U-Haul he had parked outside, according to an FBI agent on the case.

Robles' prints were already on file in a national database because in 2009, Robles pleaded guilty to participation in 11 bank robberies in Brighton, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Newton and Watertown the year before. He was sentenced to a little more than 6 1/2 years in federal prison for that spree and was released in June, 2018.

In an affidavit, an FBI agent assigned to the case writes that Robles, 36 and from Hyde Park, walked into the Citizen's Bank branch at 97 Lowell Rd. in Concord around 2:48 p.m. on Nov. 9 and handed a teller a note that started "“ROBBERY!" - the same opening line he used in his demand notes 12 years earlier. The note continued:


The report continues:

The teller then removed currency from her drawer and placed the currency on the counter. At this time the robber dropped a wipe that he had in his hand and took the currency from the counter before exiting the Bank.

Among the law-enforcement officers who responded to the robbery were members of the State Police crime-scene unit, which, among other things, took the wet wipe back to the lab. Meanwhile, a worker at a neighboring cafe was telling Concord Police and the FBI about the U-Haul that somebody had parked outside, exited, then hurried back into and drove off.

The next day, the State Police crime lab notified the FBI that they had lifted a print and that it matched one in a database for Robles - who, in addition to the 2008 robberies, was also wanted for several more recent bank jobs, the affidavit continues.

On Nov. 12, State Police troopers spotted the U-Haul truck and arrested Robles. According to the affidavit, he confessed to the Concord bank robbery.

If convicted on the charge of armed bank robbery, Robles could face up to 20 years in prison, the US Attorney's office reports.

Innocent, etc.

PDF icon Complete affidavit62 KB

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In spite of the end of the space shuttle program and the unemployment resulting from cutbacks at NASA, one finds very few actual rocket scientists among the ranks of bank robbers.

Voting closed 9

We lost our rocket scientists when we lost JFK.

Voting closed 15

I absolutely agree that education is the only way to keep people from being incarcerated. It has been proven effective, unfortunately the public doesn't like the optics of giving a College education to prisoners.

Voting closed 12

Surprised wet wipes show fingerprints.

Laughing at use of a U-Haul as a getaway vehicle.

Happy for both.

Voting closed 14

A print from a wet wipe?
He can buy some from the prison commissary to use between showers now..

Voting closed 11

Fingerprints are already a pretty dubious piece of evidence, and have been way overstated in their ability to identify. And from a *wet wipe*? My guess is that they got an extremely vague partial print and matched it against their list of usual suspects, but that the partial they had would have matched against thousands of other people too.

Voting closed 12

and the machine will come back with usually one match. And if that match comes back to someone who has been arraigned for 150 previous crimes in their life including multiple bank robberies, then they probably have a good suspect. (the lab will then send the print to another lab, to see if the other lab gets the same results without informing the lab where the print was from, who the print came back to, etc, etc.)

But no, they do not match prints to a list of "usual suspects". That is completely false.

Voting closed 12

This guy is clearly a fan of Elmore Leonard's world of less than dazzling crooks.

Voting closed 11

I would have thought the wet wipe would have helped him make a clean getaway.

Voting closed 11