BOSTON (CBS) – A Peabody bank robbery suspect was arrested in a taxicab in Boston Monday. The robbery occurred at a Bank of America on Andover Street at about 2:19 pm.
Peabody Police say the man, later identified as 31-year-old Leo Willwerth of East Boston, entered the bank and made threats that he had a bomb and demanded cash. He did not show a weapon.
Willwerth then fled the bank and was seen getting into a taxi outside the North Shore Mall with a woman, according to police.
Tri-City Taxi dispatcher Bob Flaherty says he had no idea his driver was picking up a robbery suspect and the woman with him.
“And then we received a phone call from the police. And at that point I said; OK well let me try to get a hold of the guy,” Flaherty told WBZ.
With police on the line, Flaherty says he followed his driver using GPS, doing everything he could to get word to him through the radio.
“Unfortunately, he may have shut the radio off, may have been asked to shut the radio off,” Flaherty said.
And even with radio silence, he used back up GPS to continue tracking, until the State Police helicopter could see the taxi from the sky.
State Police stopped the taxi on Melnea Cass Boulevard near I-93 in Boston about an hour later. Willwerth and the woman were taken into custody. It is unclear if the woman was involved in the robbery.
No one was hurt and Flaherty says this kind of thing is a risk that comes with the taxi driving territory.
“It’s quite dangerous,” Flaherty said. “We don’t know who’s getting in our back seat.”
Willwerth will be arraigned in Peabody District Court on Tuesday.