Watertown Bank Robbery Suspect Denied Bail

Suspect allegedly had more than $2,000 in cash on him when arrested, and faces a burglary charge in North Carolina.

The man suspected of robbing the Belmont Savings Bank in Watertown Square on April 1, was held on no bail after a dangerousness hearing in Waltham District Court, Friday.

Richard Bonet Jr., 25, of Worcester, was arrested by Boston Police on April 1 in an unrelated incident where he allegedly broke into a house in Roxbury.

While being questioned, Boston Police found $2,690 in cash, brown money bands and a bank slip from Belmont savings bank, said Watertown Detective David MacNeil Friday in court.

He also had a military identification card, drug paraphernalia, he said, and told Boston Police he uses heroin, but not within the three prior days.

MacNeil watched footage from the bank’s security camera, and said while the robber’s face was partially covered, he could make out enough of the face to match identify the suspect as Bonet.

The footage shows the suspect walk into the bank, take some bank slips, write something on a slip and walk over to the teller and hand her the note, MacNeil said.

“He had a white plastic bag and placed it on the counter and the suspect handed the teller a note saying there is a bomb in the bag,” MacNeil said. “The note said Give him all her money.”

The bag did not end up containing a bomb, MacNeil said. Instead the State Police bomb squad found a small, green fishing tackle box.

The bank reported missing more than $4,400, MacNeil said. Bonet’s attorney, Arthur Kelly pointed out that police recovered about $2,000 less that that amount and questioned the large disparity in the amounts.

“Within an hour and a half later he was in custody in Boston by Boston Police,” Kelly said.

Bonet has other pending legal troubles, MacNeil said. When Watertown Police investigated Bonet, they found that he had an arrest warrant from Fayetteville, N.C., for burglary. When he contacted police in North Carolina they confirmed he was wanted there.

In the North Carolina burglary, MacNeil said, the homeowner – a military man stationed at nearby Fort Bragg – came home while the burglar was trying to leave. The two wound up nose to nose in their cars.

“They smashed each other when trying to capture the defendant,” MacNeil said.

The car belonged to Bonet’s wife, MacNeil said.

Kelly pointed out that the North Carolina authorities were not seeking extradition for Bonet. He added that Bonet had not been dishonorably discharged by the U.S. Army, and requested that bail be set for him.

Assistant District Attorney Tasnin Chowdhury said that Bonet gave a false name when first detained by Boston Police and then tried to run away, and so he would pose a threat to the people of Massachusetts.

Kelly's request was denied, and Bonet will be held without bail until the probable cause hearing on May 9.


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