YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An ex-con who police said was carrying the $1,980 stolen at gunpoint from a Saddle Brook bank when they arrested him — along with the gun itself and other evidence, including a detonated dye pack — is facing up to 20 years in jail if convicted, federal authorities said today, following an initial hearing in U.S. District Court in Newark.
The FBI has charged 45-year-old Jorge L. Rodriguez of South River (Middlesex County) with a single count of federal bank robbery.
Rodriguez was ordered held without bail in connection with the April 19 holdup of the TD Bank branch on Floral Lane.
The FBI’s complaint said Rodriguez pointed the gun at a teller and handed over a paper shopping bag with instructions to fill it with cash.
“I’ll shoot. You have two seconds,” it says he told her.
As CLIFFVIEW PILOT reported exclusively, a man who spotted the robber leaving the TD branch told a passerby, “I think that guy just robbed the bank.”
The second man then followed him less than two blocks to a Graham Terrace home and called Saddle Brook police ( SEE: Saddle Brook police: Ex-con charged in bank robbery had money, gun ) .
Along the way, a dye pack that the teller had included in the batch exploded, as CLIFFVIEW PILOT reported exclusively.
“A red cloud could be seen emerging from the paper shopping bag that the robber was carrying,” the complaint says.
CLIFFVIEW PILOT was also the first to report that borough police were waiting when the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Rodriguez emerged from the house, less than five hours after the holdup ( SEE: Saddle Brook police arrest suspect in armed bank robbery ).
In a Macy’s shopping back, he was carrying a white cap, a wool hat with a dreadlock wig attached to it, another paper shopping bag, cash with red dye on it, a Powerline BB pistol loaded with BBs and an air cartridge — also with red dye on it — and the dye pack, the FBI complaint says.
Authorities also have surveillance video that captured images of Rodriguez getting out of a black SUV, Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler said at the time.
The neighbor installed the system after suffering break-ins to his home and car, the chief told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Also taken into custody and later released was the home’s owner, 44-year-old Alex Maldanado — who Kugler said police were considering “a person of interest.”
Rodriguez, who sometimes stayed with Maldanado, was released from state prison last October after serving more than nine years of a 12-year sentence for a pair of Hudson County holdups, records show.
SURVEILLANCE PHOTO: Courtesy Saddle Brook PD
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