The US Attorney's office in Boston reports the arraignment of a white career criminal who tried to pass for black when he allegedly held up the TD Bank branch at 391 Market St. - and then tried to evade police by listening to a police radio - last November.
Joseph Rachal, 64, was arraigned yesterday in federal district court on charges of armed bank robbery, carrying a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, and being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Rachal has a record dating to the 1960s. In 1968, then just 17, he and some pals stole a recent Northeastern graduate's car. When the car owner tried to open the door and wrest back control of the car, Rachal shot him to death, according to press accounts from the time.
Rachal agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder, had that plea thrown out, escaped, committed an armed robbery or two, agreed to a manslaughter plea and then managed to run away while on a furlough, spending nearly three years on the lam before he was recaptured.
According to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the bank-robbery case, Rachal walked into the branch around 4:50 p.m. on Nov. 19, wearing a rubber mask designed to make him look black, and went up to a teller and pointed a gun at him and demanded money. Then he went up to a second teller and made a similar demand, this time banging the gun on the counter as he impatiently waited for her to give him money.
He walked out with $2,397, but never had a chance to spend any, because Boston Police officers responding to the scene quickly found him, hiding behind an SUV at Bennett and Market streets.
After a brief chase and struggle, police frisked him and found he had a Uniden Bearcat scanner with earbuds in his waistband - tuned to a BPD frequency - the affidavit says. In a nylon bag he'd been carrying, the document continues, police found a Glock handgun with 15 rounds, a loose magazine with another 15 rounds, a black face mask and $2,397 in currency.
Rachal faces up to 25 years in federal prison on the bank-robbery charge and another 7 years on the charge of using a gun during the commission of a crime.