It’s a case involving banks, bombs, and blood brothers. And, before it was all over, the U-30 Bandit and his co-conspirator had robbed eight banks.
Mollie Halpern: It’s a case involving banks, bombs, and blood brothers. And, before it was all over, the U-30 Bandit and his co-conspirator had robbed eight banks. FBI agents say it was an unforgettable case.
Eric Toole: Everyone worked unbelievably hard on this case. I will remember it for the rest of my career.
Mollie Halpern: I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau, and you’re listening to “Inside the FBI”. Coming up, the diversions used to try to throw off law enforcement, how an eyeball led to a break in this case, and how cooperation between the Bureau and local law enforcement ultimately led to the arrests.
But first, we begin by going back to March 26, 2009 in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It was business as usual at Shaw’s supermarket that Thursday afternoon, but that quickly changed when somebody dialed 911 and then hung up. When law enforcement arrived at the scene, they found what appeared to be a bomb at the supermarket’s pay phone. Just 15 minutes later and a half-a-mile away, a masked man armed with an explosive device and a gun robbed the Bank of America. He escaped with the help of his partner, who was behind the wheel of the getaway car. Local police evacuated the areas; the Massachusetts State Police Bomb unit and FBI’s Evidence Response Team were called. Special Agent Eric Toole responded to both chaotic scenes…
Eric Toole: The bank tellers were very shaken and terrified just because of the fact that this guy came in there pushing a gun around and pointing it at them. They were certainly in fear for their lives.
Halpern: Both devices were eventually deemed duds, and no one was hurt. The two scenes were linked—with the first one serving a diversion for the bank robbery. The perpetrators had planned carefully—down to the last second. The suspect was in and out of the bank in under 30 seconds, and, as a result, was later dubbed the U-30 Bandit.
Toole: This guy obviously went in, had a mission, and knew how long he wanted to be in there. Also, he had a two-way walkie-talkie on his hip. All the witnesses could hear somebody on the other end counting down.
Halpern: About a week later, on April 3, the U-30 Bandit was at it again. He robbed a TD Bank North in neighboring Needham. Just like the first time, the masked U-30 Bandit used a gun and a fake bomb to threaten bank tellers.
Toole: He just said, “Give me all the money, I have a gun, this is a bomb.” He definitely threatened their lives.
Halpern: Supervisory Special Agent Randy Jarvis also worked the case…
Randy Jarvis: Being a bank teller should not be a hazardous duty in our society. But, many times when you have guys like this running around, it becomes a hazardous job. These folks shouldn’t be afraid to get up and go to work in the morning.”
Halpern: But that was likely happening, as the U-30 Bandit and his partner robbed bank after bank after bank. Finally, after the seventh robbery, investigators got a break in the case.
Toole: Upon him exiting the bank, the camera caught his eyeball. One of his eyes. One of the local detectives saw the bank robbery photos and recognized the eye as being similar to someone that he had dealt with many times
Halpern: Investigators identified the U-30 Bandit as Dimitri Long; his partner as Michael Cody. The two weren’t just partners in crime—they were also related.
Jarvis: The bottom line is, most interestingly, he was half-brothers with his co-conspirator and the driver of these armed robberies.
Halpern: The getaway car had also been caught on camera, so investigators had determined its make, model, and year. Plus, unbeknownst to the two, based on what investigators witnessed during their surveillance, they believed they had figured out the brothers’ next target and their plan to create another diversion. On July 1, the brothers put their plan into action. Law enforcement was ready.
Jarvis: Somebody was able to position themselves in such a way that they could see down the street, and they watched Michael get out of the car, and he went in the back and he slapped on a fake license plate and he taped it onto the back of the getaway car.
Halpern: Soon afterwards, Long hit up the Sovereign bank in Needham. Then he ran out, with stolen money in hand.
Jarvis: He was heading toward the getaway car. And, you know, as co-conspirators go, they’re never there when you need them. As Dimitri was making his way for the getaway car, Michael saw all the cops responding, and he drives away, and Dimitri gets arrested in the middle of the street.
Halpern: But investigators weren’t going to let Michael Cody get away, so they gave chase.
Jarvis: We had to call in the state police STOP team and the FBI SWAT team because Michael had driven his car, stashed his car in a driveway, and run into a home that was under reconstruction in the neighborhood.
Halpern: But, Cody couldn’t get into the stranger’s house.
Toole: So they obviously get him under arrest at gunpoint and they found the attached license plate and the other half of the walkie-talkie that was found next to Dimitri Long in the street, and obviously it’s the same make of walkie-talkie.”
Halpern: The brothers had put communities in fear, evaded police for months, and had stolen nearly $59,000. The men were finally in cuffs, but now law enforcement wanted them behind bars.
Jarvis: He’s got a lot of victims out there now that have to wake up every morning and remember him pointing a gun in their face. My take is, number one, we always know that the best predictor of future violent criminal activity is a history of violent criminal activity. Dimitri Long certainly fit that bill. Based on his arrest record, he’s been a bad actor most of his life. So it just confirmed to us that these are the type of people that we need to be paying attention to. It also showed that they, by and large, will not stop until we stop them. In the meantime, they are going to create a wake of destruction every time they go and do one of these bank robberies.
Halpern: Long was sentenced in February of 2011. He faces 20 years in federal prison plus five years of supervised release and $49,000 in restitution. His getaway driver and half-brother, Michael Coty, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and five years’ supervised release and restitution. FBI Agents Toole and Jarvis say the men’s capture was possible because of the help of local law enforcement.
Toole: It wasn’t just us; it was us in concert with all the different departments that we worked seamlessly together that made this so successful. It was just a great experience to also morph all of what we have with the state and locals and work together towards one goal, which we achieved.
Jarvis: As a task force, as a law enforcement community, I think we can safely say we’re extremely happy to see Dimitri get sentenced and be able to put him behind us.
Halpern: This was a look at the U-30 Bandit case from “Inside the FBI”. I’m Mollie Halpern, thanks for listening.