Third suspect arrested and charged in violent armed robbery of Martha’s Vineyard bank

Cape Cod Incidents/CWN

TISBURYFrom U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston: A third individual has been charged and arrested in relation to the violent armed bank robbery on Martha’s Vineyard on Nov. 17, 2022.

Romane Andre Clayton, 21, of Jamaica, was arrested on Dec. 9, 2022 in Connecticut and charged with one count of being an accessory after the fact to armed bank robbery. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. Two co-defendants, Miquel A. Jones and Omar Odion Johnson, were previously arrested and charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston on Dec. 1, 2022. Jones and Johnson remain in state custody on related charges.

According to the charging documents, on the morning of Nov. 17, 2022, three masked and armed individuals forced their way into the rear door of the Rockland Trust bank in Tisbury. All three individuals were wearing dark colored clothing and white masks resembling an elderly man with exaggerated facial features. According to witnesses, each of the individuals were allegedly carrying what appeared to be semi-automatic handguns. The video surveillance also showed that one of the individuals was carrying what appeared to be a walkie-talkie. Once inside the bank, one of the individuals allegedly held a gun to the head of one of the bank employees and forced him to open the bank’s vault. It is further alleged that the individuals entered the vault and took approximately $39,100, then bound the employees with duct tape and plastic zip ties, demanded access to one of their vehicles, and left the premises in an employee’s car.

A short time after the robbery, the stolen car was located in a parking lot approximately 2.3 miles from the bank and determined that, minutes after the robbery, the individuals allegedly left the parking lot in another vehicle.

According to the charging documents, following an investigation, Jones and Johnson were identified as suspects. It is alleged that subsequent searches resulted in the recovery of three $100 bills and clothing consistent with the robbers in Jones’ car; a black handgun from Johnson’s home; and paperwork reflecting both a money transfer to Jamaica in the approximate amount of $700 and cash deposits in the amount of $4,100 made at a bank in Connecticut in Johnson’s car. 

Additionally, according to the charging documents, during a search of the Tisbury farm used by a local landscaping company which employs Jones, a glove, paper money band, zip tie and multiple rubber band – items consistent with the bank robbery – were recovered. During the search, investigators observed an area that appeared to have had a recent fire, and found burned pieces of nylon, white metal plastic consistent with a white mask, burned walkie-talkie pieces, an antennae, batteries and pieces of metal consistent with a duffle bag zipper. Within a few feet of the burned area two semi-automatic handguns loaded with 9mm ammunition were discovered buried inches under the ground. These items, including the handguns, were consistent with items possessed by the robbers during the robbery of the Rockland Trust bank.

According to surveillance video obtained from the Steamship Authority ferry terminal in Vineyard Haven, it is alleged that less than 40 minutes after the robbery – at approximately 8:58 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2022 – Clayton was captured arriving in a silver sedan to a parking lot nearby the ferry terminal, parking the vehicle, purchasing ferry tickets and boarding a ferry at 9:21 a.m. Approximately 30 minutes later, at 9:53 a.m., Johnson is allegedly captured arriving to the same parking lot and getting into the driver’s seat of the silver sedan Clayton had previously arrived in and parked before boarding a ferry. It is further alleged that Johnson is later captured driving the silver sedan to the vehicle reservation clerk booth, purchasing a vehicle ferry ticket and boarding a freight ferry in the silver sedan at 12:24 p.m.

On Nov. 19, 2022, Jones was arrested on state charges of accessory after the fact and was later charged with armed and masked bank robbery in Edgartown District Court on Nov. 28, 2022. On Nov. 25, 2022, a criminal complaint and warrant were issued by the Edgartown District Court charging Johnson with the Nov. 17, 2022, masked and armed robbery of the Rockland Trust bank. Johnson was located and arrested in New Haven, Conn., and was taken into state custody. The investigation remains active and ongoing.

The charge of being an accessory after the fact to armed bank robbery provides for a sentence of up to 150 months in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Tisbury Police Chief Chris Habekos; West Tisbury Police Chief Matt Mincone; Edgartown Police Chief Bruce R. McNamee; Chilmark Police Chief Jonathan Klaren; Oak Bluffs Police Chief Jonathan Searle; Aquinnah Police Chief Randhi P. Belain; Canterbury (N.H.) Police Chief Michael Labrecque; and New Haven (Conn.) Police Chief Karl Jacobson made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the United States Postal Inspection Service; the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and the United States Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Meghan Chambers Cleary and Kenneth G. Shine of Rollins’s Major Crimes Unit are prosecuting the case. 

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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