Prison escapee charged with attempting to rob 2 banks in Massachusetts

Morales wished a nice day after the teller didn’t give him any money

Photo Courtesy: Massachusetts State Police

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A former Army Reservist, who escaped from a federal prison in Rhode Island, has been charged with two counts of attempted bank robbery in Massachusetts.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb, 35-year-old James Morales of Cambridge escaped from the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island on December 31, 2016. Then, while Morales was on the run, he allegedly tried to rob two banks on January 5, 2017.

On that day, at about 9:21 a.m., Morales alleged walked into a Bank of America in Cambridge and passed the teller a note stating, “I WANT ALL OF THE LARGE DENOMINATIONS W/BAND’S FROM THE 2ND (BOTTOM) TILL NOW BE CALM – BE COOL – NO DYE PACKS.”

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Surveillance image from an attempted robbery at a Bank of America on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. Image Courtesy: FBI Boston

Weinreb said the teller was able to run behind a locked door, and Morales left without any money; he was caught on the bank’s surveillance cameras during the attempted robbery.

Then, at around 3:11 p.m., Morales allegedly walked into a Citizen’s Bank in Somerville and passed the teller a note stating, “I WANT THE MONEY IN THE TILL NOW!! 100’s 50’s 20’s. Be Calm, Be Cool, be Quick.”

The teller said, “I can’t,” and Morales wished the teller a nice day and left, Weinreb said. Again, surveillance cameras recorded Morales in the bank.

Weinreb said Morales faces about 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution on each count.

Morales was originally arrested back in November of 2015 on federal weapons charges after military weapons were stolen from a U.S. Army Reserve facility in Worcester, Weinreb said.

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