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Man who robbed Swansea bank that led to Fall River chase, sentenced



A 27-year-old Willimantic, Connecticut man who robbed a bank in Swansea and led police on a high speed pursuit that endangered the lives of numerous area motorists was convicted in Fall River Superior Court last week, and sentenced to serve five years in state prison, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Daniel Fernandes pleaded guilty to a two-count indictment, charging him with armed/masked robbery and operating a motor vehicle to endanger.

On April 6, 2017 at approximately 12:20 p.m., Swansea Police were dispatched to Bank 5 at 497 Milford Road for a reported bank robbery. The victim bank teller told police that a male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, a flat brim red hat, a scarf covering most of his face, and black gloves approached his teller window and handed him a handwritten note. The note asked for $5,000 and threatened that he would blow the teller’s head off. The victim told the suspect he didn’t have that much and the defendant stated “give me what you got.” The victim used an automated cash teller machine to retrieve $1,500 cash, which he gave to the defendant. That automated machine was able to capture and record the serial numbers of 97 of the bills given to the suspect.

After leaving the bank, the defendant then fled north on Route 118 in a blue Honda type vehicle. Officer John Souza saw the vehicle on Route 118 and witnessed it exit and travel west on Route 6. Officer Souza approached the Honda with his lights and siren on, but the vehicle refused to stop. The Honda then swerved across all lanes of travel and entered onto Rt. 195 east, accelerating rapidly. When the Honda swerved across the lanes of Route 6, the defendant narrowly avoided striking two oncoming vehicles that had to stop short to avoid crashing. Police continued pursuit onto Route 195 east, but as the suspect crossed over the Braga Bridge, Swansea police lost sight of the vehicle because of its high speed and poor visibility due to heavy rain. Police chose at that time to terminate the pursuit for safety reasons and notified Fall River Police.

Fall River Police located the vehicle parked at the intersection of Columbia and Eagle Street. The vehicle was left in neutral and rolled back approximately 40 feet, where it came to rest in the westbound lane of travel of Columbia Street. The Honda was empty and the engine was still running. Two witnesses stated they saw one male exit the car and run east on Columbia Street. Another witness told police that the male appeared to be holding something on his right side and he was dropping money on the sidewalk. Police saw a male jumping a fence to the rear of Cinderella Bakery and located him on the other side of the fence lying in a prone position with his hands out. Police detained the male and he was identified as Daniel Fernandes. Officer Souza recognized defendant as the operator of the Honda who passed him on Route 6.

Police searched the defendant and found two large wads of cash stuffed into his two front pants pockets totaling $1446.01, a handwritten note and a black pen. The note indicated he wanted $5,000 in cash exactly and not to call the police or set off silent alarms or he would kill the teller. During booking, defendant stated that he had consumed heroin earlier in the day and apologized for the incident, saying he hoped he didn’t hurt anybody. Defendant admitted that he committed the robbery and said he was sorry for leading the police on a high speed chase. Defendant said that he was released from the ACI in Rhode Island just six days ago after serving 42 months in prison for a second degree robbery.

Police cross-referenced the bills recovered from defendant with the 97 serial numbers from the bills given to the defendant by the bank. Police matched 88 of the 97 serial numbers.

During a sentencing hearing before Judge Raffi Yessayan, Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Morrissette argued that due to the brazen actions of the defendant and his prior criminal history, he should be sentenced to five to seven years in state prison. The defendant, however, requested a five year state prison term, which Jude Yessayan imposed.

“This defendant is a career criminal who just got out of jail in Rhode Island for committing the same type of crime,” District Attorney Quinn said. “His conduct endangered lives of the victim, the police and motorists on the highway. I think he should have received a longer sentence.”

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