BOSTON (CBS) — An East Boston man appeared in Peabody District Court on Tuesday after he allegedly robbed a Peabody bank and then fled in a taxi one day ago.

Leo Willwerth, 31, was charged with armed robbery and two counts of assaults with a dangerous weapon. He pleaded not guilty and will be held without bail until a dangerousness hearing on June 18.

Leo Willwerth (WBZ-TV)

According to State Police, Willwerth went into the Bank of America on Andover Street Monday afternoon, passed a note demanding money, and claimed he had a bomb strapped to his chest. He did not show any weapons.

Willwerth then got into a taxi outside the North Shore Mall with a woman. The woman’s name has not been released and it’s unclear if she was involved with the robbery or faces any criminal charges.

Tri-City Taxi dispatcher Bob Flaherty said he had no idea his driver was picking up a robbery suspect. Flaherty got a call from police and stayed on the line with them as he tracked the taxi through GPS until the State Police helicopter caught up with the car.

Suspected bank robber taken into custody on Melnea Cass Blvd in Boston (WBZ-TV)

Willwerth was arrested about 20 miles from the robbery after being surrounded by State Police on I-93.

While under investigation, police discovered Willwerth had an outstanding warrant for a probation violation based on a 2013 bank robbery where he also made a bomb threat. Additionally, police said Willwerth admitted to robbing a Santander bank in Boston on June 5 and an East Boston Savings Bank on June 7.

He will be charged in connection to those bank robberies at a later date.


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