YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An ex-con who police told CLIFFVIEW PILOT was carrying $1,980 stolen at gunpoint from a Saddle Brook bank when they arrested him — along with the gun and a detonated dye pack — was sentenced today in Newark to nearly six years in federal prison and three years of supervised release.
U.S. District Court Judge William Martini also sentenced Jorge Rodriguez, 47, to pay $75 in restitution.
Rodriguez, of South River, admitted in U.S. District Court in Newark last June that he used a BB air pistol to rob the TD Bank branch on April 19, 2013.
Rodriguez, who was released from state prison the previous October after serving more than nine years of a 12-year sentence for a pair of Hudson County holdups, entered the Floral Lane bank 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 where he sometimes stayed with a friend who lives there (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.
Borough police were waiting when the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Rodriguez emerged from his friend’s house less than five hours later (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. 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 the subsequent 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