Gotcha! Elmwood Park Bank Robber, 66, Wrote Holdup Note On Car Owner's Manual, Police Say

An Elmwood Park bank robber wrote a holdup note on a page ripped from the owner’s manual of a stolen car, said authorities who captured him.

James Lassiter

James Lassiter


James A. Lassiter, 66, of Paterson entered the Chase Bank branch in the Elmwood Park Center on Broadway the morning of Sept. 3 dressed in an all-white hooded sweatsuit, white sneakers, gloves, a facemask and sunglasses, Police Chief Michael Foligno said.

He passed a note and “repeatedly threatened to shoot the teller if she didn't comply," the chief said.

She gave him all the cash in the drawer, "which wasn't much," he said.

Two weeks ago, the FBI notified Foligno’s department that Paterson police had recovered a stolen silver 2010 Mazda on Bridge Street in Paterson that a witness spotted during the robbery.

The car had been reported stolen out of Paterson. In it Lassiter, of Park Avenue, the chief said.

Elmwood Park police detectives joined FBI agents at Classic Towing on Shady Street in Paterson, where they processed the vehicle for evidence.

It had white lettering that the witness noticed, as well as a holdup note inside identical to the one left at the bank, Foligno said, adding that both had been written on pages from the Mazda owner’s manual.

Also found in the vehicle was a two-dollar bill along with other evidence that was turned over to the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification for examination, the chief said.

BCI reported back that fingerprints lifted from the scene and the note matched Lassiter’s, he said.

The FBI signed a complaint charging Lassiter with bank robbery. He was arrested yesterday, Foligno said.

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