An Everett man on probation on armed-robbery charges faces new federal charges for a February bank robbery in Allston in which he allegedly used his "big-ass gun" to rob the bank of $5,903.50, steal one customer's car and threaten to shoot another customer's "white ass" if he didn't get in the car with him - which the customer did, but from which he managed to escape after about a block.
Jamaine Howell, 35, was charged with bank robbery and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in US District Court in Boston in connection with the Feb. 7 incident at the TD Bank branch at Commonwealth and Harvard avenues, where the Pizzeria Uno used to be, the US Attorney's office reports.
Howell has been in state custody since Feb. 16, three days after he allegedly threatened a guest at a Sharon motel with a gun.
According to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the case, Howell walked into the bank around 12:20 p.m. on Feb. 7:
The Robber approached the teller; presented a demand note; stated words to the effect of, "Follow these instructions, don't react;" and then handed the teller a brown plastic bag. The Robber also stated words to the effect of, "You better not push anything; you better not alert anything; I have a gun." The teller removed all the money in her drawer and placed it into the brown plastic bag as directed.
While the teller placed money from her drawer into the brown bag, the Robber is seen on video approaching two bank customers:
The Robber approached the first customer, "Bank Customer 1," who was later interviewed by law enforcement, and asked if Bank Customer 1 had a car. When Bank Customer 1 responded yes, the Robber demanded his keys and displayed a handgun in his waistline. The Robber further stated, "if you make any move, I'm going to shoot someone," or words to that effect. Bank Customer 1 described the firearm as a black semi-automatic handgun.
The Robber then approached the second customer, "Bank Customer 2," who was later interviewed by law enforcement, while he was on his cell phone. The Robber took his cell phone out of his hands while asking, "who are you calling," or words to that effect.
Once the teller placed money from her drawer in the brown plastic bag, the Robber grabbed the bag from the teller and approached Bank Customer 2 again. The Robber said to Bank Customer 2 words to the effect of, "C'mon man, you're coming with me," and "I will shoot your white ass, I have a big ass gun." The Robber then led Bank Customer 2 out of the bank. Outside the bank, the Robber threatened Bank Customer 2 again, with words to the effect of, "come on white boy, I said I'll shoot you." After traveling about a block, Bank Customer 2 managed to escape from the Robber while the Robber was distracted, and Bank Customer 2 ran back to the bank.
The affidavit continues that six days later, Sharon Police responded to the Best Western Hotel, 395 Old Post Rd., after one guest reported another guest had "brandished a firearm" at him. Police sent the description and hotel surveillance photos to the FBI's Boston-area Violent Crime Task Force, where investigators noticed the photos of the heavyset black man seemed to be the same as that of the heavyset black man who had robbed the bank.
The guy used his real name to check into the hotel and, as one does when checking in, provided the make and license plate of the minivan he'd rented. Investigators quickly discovered that Jamaine Howell had a long record, was, in fact, on probation on armed-robbery charges and had been wanted since January for probation violations.
In 2013, court records show, he pleaded guilty to armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon in Suffolk Superior Court. He was sentenced to 4 to 5 years at Cedar Junction, followed by 7 years of probation in that case.
On Feb. 16, Howell returned his rented Chrysler Pacifica to an Enterprise office in Lynn - where Lynn Police, alerted to the vehicle's presence, arrived and arrested him, the affidavit states.
Once apprehended, officers discovered a loaded .45 caliber Ruger handgun in Howell’s possession, in his right bottom pocket of the jacket he was wearing.
A subsequent search of the minivan yielded "a black Stryker semi-automatic shotgun, loaded, with a red dot sight affixed to the shotgun and an unattached shoulder stock," according to the affidavit.
According to the agent, after being read his Miranda rights, Howell confessed to the bank robbery. According to the US Attorney's office, he faces up to 25 years in federal prison on the bank-robbery charges.