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 a detonated dye pack — pleaded guilty to bank robbery today.
Jorge Rodriguez, 46, of South River, faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted at a trial, federal authorities said.
Instead, he admitted in U.S. District Court in Newark that he used a BB air pistol to rob the TD Bank branch on April 19, 2013.
Rodriguez, who sometimes stayed with a friend from the same Saddle Brook neighborhood, 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.
He entered the Floral Lane bank last April wearing a disguise that included a hat with a dreadlocks wig attached.
“Give me the money or I’ll shoot,” he said, handing a paper bag to a teller. “You have two seconds.”
As CLIFFVIEW PILOT reported exclusively, a man who spotted him leaving the TD branch told a passerby, “I think that guy just robbed the bank.” ( SEE: Details emerge in Saddle Brook bank robbery )
The second man then followed Rodriguez 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, borough police were waiting when the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Rodriguez emerged from his friend’s house less than five hours after the holdup ( SEE: Saddle Brook police arrest suspect in armed bank robbery ).
In a Macy’s shopping bag he was carrying a white cap, the deadlocks hat, 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.
Authorities had surveillance video that captured images of Rodriguez getting out of a black SUV. The neighbor installed the system after suffering break-ins to his home and car, they told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
U.S. District Judge William J. Martini set sentencing for Sept. 23, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, along with the Saddle Brook Police Department and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
Representing the government is Assistant U.S. Attorneys Josh Hafetz and David M. Eskew of the Criminal Division of U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
SURVEILLANCE PHOTO: Courtesy Saddle Brook PD
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