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Framingham man arrested in bank heists; Charges involve two area robberies.

Byline: Steven H. Foskett Jr.

WESTBORO - A Framingham man has been arrested in connection with a series of robberies in Central Massachusetts and near Boston, including a robbery early last month at the Citizens Bank inside the Stop & Shop on Lyman Street.

Richard E. Piper, 39, was arrested Sept. 4 by a Worcester detective after allegedly robbing the Citizens Bank in the Stop & Shop at 541 Lincoln St., Worcester. Police said a dye pack inside the money exploded and Mr. Piper was covered in red dye. According to police, Mr. Piper committed the robbery just hours after appearing in Worcester Superior Court for a probation issue.

Police Chief Alan R. Gordon said yesterday that Mr. Piper had been a suspect in a bank robbery Aug. 5 in Westboro and was interviewed by Detective Jeffrey Chase less than a day before the Worcester robbery that resulted in his arrest.

Mr. Piper initially denied involvement with the Westboro robbery, but after his arrest, he allegedly admitted to it along with similar robberies in Wellesley and Worcester, police said.

Westboro police have filed complaints against Mr. Piper, and he will be arraigned in Westboro District Court at a later date. He is being held at the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction in West Boylston on $1 million cash bail, and is due back in court Oct. 3.

On Aug. 5, according to police, a white man in his 30s or 40s, wearing a green baseball cap, glasses, a T-shirt and jeans, entered the Citizens Bank inside the Stop & Shop at the Westborough Plaza about noon and handed the teller a note demanding cash. The man told the teller he was armed, but did not brandish a weapon. No one was injured in the robbery.

Chief Gordon said yesterday the investigation of a July 26 robbery at Digital Federal Credit Union, 18 Lyman St., is still open. The suspect in that robbery was described as a white man with an average build, 25 to 30 years old, weighing 160 to 170 pounds, and wearing white sneakers, blue jeans, a blue-gray long-sleeved shirt, a brimmed hat, and sunglasses. No arrests have been made in the case.

Police originally believed the same suspect committed both robberies, but the chief said yesterday he now believes the Digital Federal Credit Union robbery was committed by another person. He said Mr. Piper did not admit to that robbery. On closer inspection, the chief said, Mr. Piper differs from the description of the suspect in that case.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 15, 2007
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