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Career Bank Robber Admits Paterson, Clifton Holdups, Saddle Brook Attempt

He wore a Los Angeles Rams football camp and a polo shirt in the attempted Saddle Brook holdup, police said. Photo Credit: SURVEILLANCE PHOTO: Courtesy SADDLE BROOK PD
James Maurice Chestnut Photo Credit: COURTESY: Saddle Brook PD

SADDLE BROOK, N.J. -- An ex-con convicted of robbing banks in 1996 and 2004 admitted holding up two others, in Clifton and Paterson, and attempting a third in Saddle Brook this past summer.

James Maurice Chestnut, 62, of Paterson could return to prison for up to 20 years when he’s sentenced in federal court in Newark in March, authorities said.

FBI agents trailing Chestnut took him into custody in Passaic on July 6.

On Wednesday, he admitted in U.S. District Court that he robbed a TD Bank in Paterson on June 30 after handing a teller a note that said: “Put 100s and 50s in the envelope. No dye pack.”

Chestnut also admitted pointing a gun at a teller at an Investors Bank in Clifton on July 5 and saying: “Open your drawer. Give me your money. All the 100s. Don’t call the cops or I’ll shoot you.”

Two days earlier, authorities said, Chestnut entered the Chase Bank on Market Street in Saddle Brook and made what authorities said was an "incoherent" demand for money.

A teller chased him off and called police.

"The success of this investigation was the result of good police work and effective networking of all agencies involved," Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler said at the time.

Acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, with the investigation leading to Wednesday’s guilty plea.

He also thanked police in Paterson, Saddle Brook, Clifton and Passaic and credited the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, comprised of law enforcement officers from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Roxbury Police Department, the Paterson Police Department and State Police.

Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine K. Lou of Fishman’s Criminal Division in Newark.

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