PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Detectives have searched the home of a bank employee in connection with the brazen heist on Federal Hill last week, 12 News has learned.
Investigators searched the woman’s Woonsocket home on suspicion that she may have been involved, according to an affidavit obtained by 12 News. She has not been charged at this time.
Police responded to the Santander Bank on Atwells Avenue around 2 a.m. Thursday for reports of two suspects inside the vault. The affidavit revealed that an employee access code was used to breach the bank without triggering an alarm.
Officers arrived to find the vault door wide open, but no suspects. Surveillance video from inside the bank showed the two suspects, who were both wearing dark clothing, masks and gloves, entering through a back door and making their way toward the vault.
In the footage, one of the suspects could be seen entering a code and opening the vault “with no difficulty,” according to the affidavit. The other suspect was wheeling a suitcase into the building and up the ramp to the vault.
The suspects snuck out the back door within three minutes of entering the building, the affidavit said. Both suspects could then be seen walking across the parking lot with the suitcase, as well as a white bag, and hopping into a gray sedan.
Detectives later learned that the suspects stole nearly $500,000 in cash from the vault. The affidavit states that a bank executive watched the surveillance footage and told detectives the suspect who opened the vault had the same mannerisms as the person whose home was searched.
Upon being interviewed, the employee told detectives that she and two others had closed the bank the night before and “nothing was unusual,” according to the affidavit. Investigators questioned why the vault timer hadn’t been set, which the acting branch manager told officers was “not a normal practice.”
In response, the employee explained that she was told by the previous branch operations manager she didn’t have to, the affidavit said.
The employee also told investigators she had returned home at 11 p.m. that night and didn’t leave, but the affidavit states that Woonsocket license plate readers flagged her car — a gray sedan — driving down Park Avenue a couple of hours after the robbery.
Detectives searched her house just hours after the robbery and found two safes, one of which contained 91 two-dollar bills in a Santander bank envelope, according to the search warrant. The other safe contained $6,000 in cash bundled with an elastic band.
The affidavit revealed that detectives also found a suitcase, cell phones and passports, as well as clothing that matched the suspects’ description.
Police on Friday told 12 News detectives have “persons of interest” in the case and that the “sophisticated” heist could be an inside job.
Commander Kevin Lanni said that, while no one has been charged yet, the case is progressing.
“We’re still gathering and analyzing intelligence and evidence,” he said.
Alexandra Leslie contributed to this report.