A Jamaica Plain man was indicted this week on charges he held up a TD Bank branch on May 2 while wearing a blue Brooklyn Dodgers cap - less than a week after another man, wearing a similar blue Red Sox cap held up the same bank and the same teller.
Jalonni Shabazz, a one-time Framingham resident formerly known as Jalonni Tucker, 40, now faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the new bank-robbery charge, the US Attorney's office in Boston reports.
Not long after he allegedly robbed the TD Bank branch at 1270 Massachusetts Ave., the feds say, police found a "royal blue" baseball cap matching the Brooklyn Dodgers cap the robber had worn - with DNA that matched Shabazz's. Unique tattoos and photos from both nearby surveillance cameras and his own Facebook page also helped tie him to the crime, the feds say.
Authorities already had Shabazz's DNA on record because he has a long criminal career, dating to when he was 18, a career that includes assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, check forgery, witness intimidation and bank robbery.
In 2007, in state court, he was convicted of armed bank robbery and sentenced to 2 to 5 years in prison. In 2017, he was convicted in federal court with robbing two banks in Framingham and sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison - the term from which he had been released and was on probation during the Harvard Square robbery.
According to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the case, around 12:50 p.m. on May 2, Shabazz walked into the Harvard Square bank:
After entering TD Bank, the suspect approached the deposit slip counter where he stood momentarily before approaching RD's teller counter. The suspect handed RD a robbery note that read as follows: "All of the Money - No Dye packs - or alarms." RD then asked the suspect if he would like to make a deposit and the suspect then told RD "this is a robbery honey." The teller located in the next teller counter window hit the panic alarm. RD stated she gave the suspect a little more than $2,200 in U.S. currency from the bank. The suspect manipulated the cash and placed the bundle containing the GPS tracker on the teller counter and stated "No GPS." The suspect left that bundle on the teller counter but took the remaining cash. In total, the suspect stole $2,200 in U.S. currency from the bank. After taking the money, the suspect left the bank and fled on foot. The suspect was last seen by bank employees to be traveling on foot down Plympton Street.
Photos and video from surveillance cameras around Harvard Square let investigators track Shabazz. The affidavit says that before he walked into the bank, he'd placed a backpack in a dumpster behind 22 Plympton St.; after the robbery, he returned, took off his Dodgers cap and do-rag - giving investigators a good look at his blond-dyed hair - grabbed the backpack and headed off.
The affidavit continues that in her initial interview, the teller at first may have confused some details of the robbery with those of another robbery just five days earlier, on April 27, when another man, also wearing a blue baseball cap but with a blue Sox B, went up to her and demanded money.
Jamal Copeland of Boston has been indicted for that robbery. Like Shabazz, Copeland has a long criminal record, and had only been back on the streets for a few months after his release from state prison for his role in a 2004 Dorchester kidnapping and robbery that ended with his crime pal shooting at a Boston cop.
Copeland during his robbery, allegedly:
In a sentencing recommendation for the 2017 conviction, federal prosecutors called Shabazz an incorrigible, violent man who had resisted efforts to get treatment for his drug addiction. On his Facebook page, Shabazz wrote about his struggle to stay sober and spoke of his relationship with God and his family as helping keep him centered.
On April 13, in one of his last posts, he posted some selfies standing in front of the Charles and wrote:
Today I did myself a favor and ran 7 1/2 miles along the Charles River after a 12 hour work day because I knew I could! YOU can do the Same I believe in you!
Complete FBI affidavit (3.3M PDF).